MOORE — Six days after an EF-5 tornado killed 24 people and caused more than $2 billion in damage to Moore, President Barack Obama paid the city a visit Sunday. He got a first-hand look at the destruction and reassured residents that he was in the rebuilding phase for the long haul.
According to the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency has already provided $57 million in rebates and incentives to help build about 12,000 storm shelters in Oklahoma.
“When we say we got your back, we keep our word,” Obama said. “When we say we are going to be here until you are completely rebuilt, we mean it.”
Obama arrived at Tinker Air Force base at 11:42 a.m. in Air Force One and was greeted by Gov. Mary Fallin, whom he hugged, Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Midwest City Mayor Jack Fry.
Obama then took time to speak to some of the 350 Tinker personnel whose homes were damaged or lost in the tornadoes.
Along the route to Moore, people lined the roadways, many holding American flags or using cell phones to take photos of the passing presidential motorcade.
Obama’s first stop was Plaza Towers Elementary, where seven school children lost their lives in the tornado. As he walked up Eagle Drive, he stared at the scenes of destruction on both sides of him. He was met by Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis, Fallin and Cole as they toured the neighborhood around the school.
Obama and his group then stopped at a spot where a house used to stand before it had collapsed in on itself. All that was left was a pile of rubble.
As Obama and his entourage finally made their way to Plaza Towers, they were greeted by school staff, district personnel and first responders.
“Hello, everybody,” the president said as he approached the group.