By William R. Wynn | TULSA, OK
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen visited Tulsa on Tuesday to see first hand the devastating effects of the flooding and tornadoes that hit the Tulsa area the previous week and to show their support for local volunteers helping to ease the suffering of affected families.
In addition to touring the worst flooded areas, the second couple visited Tulsa Community Food Bank, which has been preparing “disaster boxes” filled with canned food and other supplies to help those who may have lost their homes or at least all their food due to flooding and power outages during the recent storms.
After Mr. and Mrs. Pence helped pack disaster boxes alongside other volunteers, the vice president, flanked by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, Tulsa Chief of Police Chuck Jordan, and Oklahoma Congressmen Kevin Hern and Markwayne Mullin, spoke to workers at the food bank and to the press.
Pence began by saying he was “very inspired by the city of Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma.”
“It’s extraordinary to think …that since May 1st there have been 800 storms or tornadoes or flood incidents in the state of Oklahoma alone,” the vice president said. “It’s put an incredible burden on law enforcement, it’s put an incredible burden on families, and yet Oklahoma has responded with compassion and strength and Oklahoma has inspired the nation.”
Pence vowed that Oklahoma would have the full support of the Trump administration during what will surely be a long road toward recovery.
“We’re with you and we’re going to stay with you until we rebuild these communities bigger and better than ever before,” the vice president promised.
Pence expressed his gratitude to all the area leaders who were present, but made a special point of thanking Eileen Bradshaw, executive director of the food bank, and all the volunteers who give their time to help the less fortunate.
“I know you come out week after week, month after month to meet the needs of families that are facing challenges keeping food on the table, but the way that the food bank has stepped forward with these disaster boxes to meet the needs of families in this difficult time, I think reflects the heart and character of this organization and all the great volunteers,” the vice president said.
Pence thanked state and local law enforcement officers and first responders, saying: “Our hearts grieve for the loss of life – six lives have been lost here in Oklahoma in the wake of these storms. A heartfelt thanks for a job well done – you have saved lives.”
The vice president pointed out that the a declaration of disaster has been signed for the area and encouraged residents to avail themselves of needed aid.
“It’s important that people know that with the disaster declaration that help is now available for individuals,” Pence explained. “They can call 1-800-621-FEMA to begin the process of applying for individual support for themselves or for their families.”
Notably absent from the vice president’s comments was any mention of reversing the administration’s hostile policy towards combating climate change, which scientists are nearly unanimous in blaming for the global increase in volatile weather patterns such as that now being experienced in Oklahoma. (La Semana)