The president, his sleeves rolled up, gave a long hug to Plaza Towers Elementary Principal Amy Simpson and spoke with her for several minutes. He also talked with Briarwood Principal Shelley McMillin, Moore Superintendent Susie Pierce and teachers who were in the building when the tornado struck.
“Obviously the damage here is pretty hard to comprehend,” Obama said. “Our hearts go out to the families who have been impacted, including those who had loved ones who were lost. That was true for the parents of the seven children here at Plaza Towers Elementary School.”
Cole told Obama that he grew up on the same street as the superintendent. Pierce reminded Obama that Cole is much older than she is, which brought a laugh from all three.
“I know what a hard time this as been for her,” Cole said. “This is the job of a lifetime. She always wanted to be a teacher, and she has to deal with this tragedy that no superintendent would want to deal with. She is phenomenal.
“I know what it meant to her and her principles that the President of the United States came. The leader of the free world shows up to tell you he’s going to be rooting for you, he’s going to be there for you.”
Obama also spoke with Scott Lewis, who got his son, Zack, out of the school and into a storm shelter minutes before the tornado hit.
“He just wanted to speak to the boy and tell him how brave he was,” Scott Lewis said. “Told us everything will be OK, reassured us. We told him how great FEMA was and the first responders. This is a terrific honor to get to meet him.”
Scott said Zack was pretty shook up Saturday after going to the funeral service of his best friend, who was one of the seven children killed in Plaza Towers.