Story and photo by Rick Emert
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, met with Soldiers and Families at Fort Carson Wednesday.
Biden first met with Division West (First Army) and Fort Carson Commanding General Maj. Gen. Mark A. Graham, his wife Carol, and other Family members and leaders from the Mountain Post.
“She absolutely cares so much about our Soldiers and Families,” Carol said. “The main thing she wanted to tell us is that she’s there for us. They want to … make things better for Soldiers and Families. She was there just to listen. Her openness and genuine sincerity came across in everything she said.
“Her son is deployed, and I think that’s a huge connector. She’s living it with us. You could tell when everyone shared their stories about their deployments – or their child’s deployment, their husband’s deployment – she was feeling it.”
The Graham’s daughter, Melanie, also attended the meeting at the Graham’s house.
“I was blown away by how compassionate she was. She hugged everyone in the room, and, when we were speaking, looked at us and really listened to what we had to say,” Melanie said.
Biden is active in a program called Boots on the Ground which raises community support and awareness for issues affecting military Families, according to the White House Web site.
Biden said her visit to Fort Carson was to determine what the administration can do to help servicemembers and their Families.
“I think that’s the priority of the administration. I’m out listening. (First Lady) Michelle Obama is out listening and things are going to get better in the military,” Biden said.
She also met with Soldiers and Family members at a packed Fort Carson USO. After a brief tour, she addressed the Soldiers eating lunch there.
“We want to make things better for the military and their Families, because we have no other more sacred obligation than to take care of our military,” Biden said. “I want to thank you all for what you’ve done. I want to thank you from Barack and Michelle, my husband Joe and from me.”
After posing for photos with Soldiers and Family members, Biden ate lunch at the USO with the Grahams and a group of Soldiers.
“I loved it,” Biden said of the USO visit. “It was great just seeing all the Soldiers. My son’s Army National Guard, so of course they have a special place in my heart.”
Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Tennent and his wife, Michelle, and son, Paul, got the chance to meet Biden at USO.
Michelle said she appreciated Biden’s visit to Fort Carson and her work to improve the lives of military Families – not to mention a great photo for the Family album.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for us … to actually get to see her and meet her and have our children meet her. Our son (Paul) is 8, and he watched her on TV during the elections,” Michelle said.
“He was so excited he almost couldn’t look at her,” added Andrew from 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “She was no longer on the television, she was actually right there in front of him.”
Although she may have seemed like a television star to Paul, in person, she was down to earth, Carol said.
“She wanted to connect with everyone in the room (at the meeting),” Carol said. “When she left, after the meeting, she went around and hugged every single one of the people that met with her. She was hugging Soldiers (at the USO) and took a picture with everybody that wanted a picture with her. She didn’t seem like she had anywhere else to be, like this was the most important thing.”