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Tornado survivors welcome Trump to Lee County

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Last Friday, Beauregard streets were lined with people holding American flags as President Trump and First Lady Melania came to visit the survivors of the March third tor-nado that tore through Lee County. Folks in Alabama look forward to March because it marks the beginning of spring, which brings warmer weather, a week of spring break for school aged kids and family beach trips. However, this March was about to unfold events no one could imagine. By now all Alabamian’s have heard the horrific details and seen photos of the devastation left by the F-4 tornado that came thru Lee County on March third. Small towns like Smiths Station and Beauregard were tornado ravaged. The loss of property and life has not only touched the people of Alabama but the nation deeply. Many oorganizations have been on site help-ing the affected residents of Lee County including The Red Cross, Samaritan Purse, The Billy Gra-ham Foundation, FEMA amongst others. Churches and private individuals have volunteered to help in any way they can over the last week.Many state elected officals have visited the twenty-four-mile path of destruction including Senator Richard Shelby, Representative Mike Rog-ers and Governor Kay Ivey, but it was the visit of the President of the United States himself that lifted the spirits of the small town of Beauregard the most.President Trump and First Lady Melania landed at 11:45 at Lawson Army Airfield in Fort Benning, Georgia. President Trump and Melania exited the plane then boarded an Osprey for a tour of the storm damage along with Senator Richard Shelby, and AL Representative Mike Rogers.President Trump took a 25-minute flight to receive an aerial tour of areas impacted by the tornadoes, then touched down at Auburn University Regional Airport. There he and the First Lady, were greeted by: Governor Kay Ivey, Senator Doug Jones, Director Brian Hastings, Alabama Emer-gency Management Agency and Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones. The President and First Lady, along with security officials, then drove to the tornado-damaged locations. Along the President’s route many crowds had gathered and could be seen with their phones out taking photos and video of the motorcade. One couple sat in a pickup truck parked in a driveway waving a large American flag. Others could be seen standing in front of a large sign attached to the fence at the High School that said #BeauregardStrong. Another sign read Welcome President Trump. The Trumps met and spoke with many people at the very site where they had their homes and loved ones as they toured the Beaure-gard community. The Trumps visited with family and loved ones of Marshall Lynn Grimes and

Sheila Creech. One family member showed President Trump the motorcycle vest and bible of Mr. Grimes. They held up the vest for President Trump to see. Trump hugged the family. President Trump com-mented “I see this. And it’s hard to believe.” “The gov-ernor has done an incred-ible job.” President Trump complimented FEMA as well and said that he was glad they responded quickly. “They’ve done an incred-ible job and I want to thank FEMA.” Trump’s team then left the leveled community to go to Providence Church. At 1:30, Trump arrived at the Providence Baptist Church where dozens of families crowded in an auditorium that was filled with clothes, toiletries, diapers, school backpacks and books for those who lost their pos-sessions or homes in the tornadoAfter meeting privately in a Sunday School room with nearly a dozen victim families, President Trump came into the church auditorium where he ad-dressed and thanked dozens of community volunteers and first responders who cheered as he emerged. Trump told the crowd “I’ve never seen anything like it.” “We couldn’t get here fast enough,” Trump said. “I wanted to come the day it happened.” Trump stated the governor asked him to give them some time first. Trump said FEMA will stay as long as needed. “We love you all. We love the state of Alabama.” Afterward, he stayed in-side the church hall to shake hands and sign items for survivors and first respond-ers. Trump even took selfies with some of the young kids in attendance. After addressing the volunteers in the church, Trump and Melania came outside the church to honor the victims. He walked to a row of crosses honoring 23 people who died in the storm. Holding Melania’s Hand, Trump spent several moments in front of each cross. He touched at least one delicately. Each of the crosses were decorated with hearts and stuffed animals, flowers. Messages were written on them. Trump did not respond to the media’s questions about the trip. He simple mouthed “thank you” to the press.At 3:05 President Trump and the First Lady boarded Marine One to depart Alabama.The Mayor of Smiths Station, Bubba Copeland stated, “A week ago Presi-dent Trump had probably never heard of Beauregard Alabama. Now he knows exactly where we are.”