Obama pledges U.S. government support in rebuilding tornado-struck Arkansas

BY Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press  May 7, 2014 at 4:44 PM EDT
Ken Sullivan, general manager of We Willies Super Auto Wash, looks over the damage after a tornado tore through the area for the second time in three years, on April 28, 2014 in Vilonia, Arkansas. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Ken Sullivan, general manager of We Willies Super Auto Wash, looks over the damage after a tornado tore through the area for the second time in three years, on April 28, 2014 in Vilonia, Arkansas. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

VILONIA, Ark. — Surveying the residue of nature’s destructive power in the country’s midsection, President Barack Obama pledged Wednesday to residents of tornado-ravaged Arkansas communities that their government will stand with them until they finish rebuilding.

Obama said he wanted to stop in this small city about a half-hour north of Little Rock to assure those grieving the loss of loved ones, homes and treasured possessions that they will not be forgotten.

“I’m here to make sure that they know, that everybody who’s been affected knows the federal government’s going to be right here until we get these communities rebuilt,” Obama said after walking through a subdivision in which just six of its 56 homes had any part still standing after storms tore across the state on April 27, killing 15 people.

“When something like this happens to a wonderful community like this one, it happens to all of us,” Obama said.