President Obama Tours Tornado Damage In Arkansas

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President Barack Obama met with victims of the recent tornado in Central Arkansas Wednesday (May 7), promising residents in Vilonia and state lawmakers that the federal government will help them rebuild.

“I’m here to make sure they know, and that everyone that has been affected knows, that the federal government is going to be right here until we get these communities rebuilt. Because when something like this happens to a wonderful community like this, it happens to all of us,” Mr. Obama said.

Vilonia and Mayflower were devastated April 27 when an EF-4 tornado tore through the area and left behind a 40-mile path of destruction. Sixteen people were killed.

The president arrived Wednesday afternoon at Little Rock Air Force Base by Air Force One. He took a helicopter for an aerial tour of the storm damage, before landing in Vilonia.

Once on the ground, he met with families who lost everything, including loved ones. “It was very exciting to meet the president,” said tornado victim Daniel Smith.

His family lost everything in the storm. Not only did he shake the Commander-in-Chief’s hand, he sons were also given gifts. “It says the White House. This is the White House, this is where Obama lives,” said Smith’s son.

“He asked if we were okay, he wanted to know that we were alright. He asked how the community was doing and where we are going from here,” said Smith.

President Obama praised the quick relief effort, in which thousands of volunteers gathered right after the storm hit to go house to house searching for injured neighbors. “Some survivors were driven to hospitals by total strangers. Volunteers showed up to help remove debris, hunt for belongings, pick up trash and deliver supplies and water.”

“It is that dedication, that commitment to each other that truly defines this town,” Mr. Obama said. He promised that residents could count on their local assembled officials – Gov. Mike Beebe, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., and Mayor James Firestone – to make sure the town had all necessary resources. In particular, Mr. Obama said that the recovery effort should include a way to help Vilonia get back on its feet while the local sales tax base is decimated.

“I could not be more proud of everybody who’s participated in the recovery process,” the president said.


  • Cindy

    Wonderful to see the President and all the people so happy to see him. Nice signs and waving children welcomed the President.

    Of course the news featured a naysayer but isn’t that always the way?

    Thank you Mr. President.

  • Rhonda Mabry

    April 7th……..Way to go 5 NEWS…….Why can`t you all hire someone who knows how to spell and maybe what DAY it actually is?……..there are thousands of people who need a job!

  • Kim

    Did I miss something? The news story
    I’m reading states April 7th Wednesday
    And that’s what today is?

    • Sarah 1

      Don’t call names. It is more a reflection on you than a reflection of a President trying to help and encourage. What have you done for the victims?

      Remember Bush 43? He just did a flyover in New Orleans while people boiled in the sun and steam after the hurricane. He said “Heck of a job Brownie”.

    • Sam

      The name calling was inappropriate but I agree with you statement on the wasted taxpayer dollars.The money spent on the trip could have wisely benefited the people who lost so much instead of another example of politics as usual.

  • Gail

    Sam, it is customary for the President to visit communities devastated by natural disasters. Why do you criticize this President for doing so?

  • Mike Huckabee

    The hatred for the President in this state is eclipsed only by the ignorance and lack of education of its toothless, inbred, hillbilly citizens. Please secede from the Union and give up the massive amounts of Federal aid you recieve.

    • Kevin

      hey mike you make it out like Federal aid (money) magically appears. You are implying Arkansans don’t pay taxes to the Federal government either you are wrong or I’m the only person that pays Federal taxes.

    • KEVIN

      Mike there are some really good folks in Arkansas. I saw it in Villonia and Mayflower. Strangers giving their all to help their fellow citizens in need. As for being toothless, dentistry is expensive and to my knowledge the care is not paid by Medicaid so some people simply can’t afford it. We do have dental centers where dentists work for free or low cost if anyone wants help? To my knowledge no one is inbred so that is beng rude. With a moniker like Mike Huckbee, I would show my Christian love and forgiveness.

  • Kevin

    In Fact Mike how about The federal government give up our tax dollars. That mike sounds more realistic.

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