Dr. Jill Biden tours Fort Stewart

By Dal Cannady - bio | email

HINESVILLE, GA (WTOC) - The wife of Vice President Joe Biden heard first hand from families and educators about the impact long deployments have on military children and how schools, on or off post, try to help them cope.

Dr. Jill Biden toured Liberty County's Joseph Martin Elementary and met with teachers, counselors and others to talk about the challenges military children face. While JMES is not on Fort Stewart, nearly half the students come from military families. The time away from a parent can be tough, faculty members explained to Biden, who is a former teacher.

"We see it in test scores, behavior and other areas," principal Sue Tolley told WTOC before the visit. "Sometimes students feel more secure at school than they do at home because that mom or dad is missing."

Biden heard about counseling programs that help students before, during, and after their parent deploys.

"They do a good job," Dr. Biden said Monday afternoon. "I would hope those programs could translate to schools all across the country."

Biden also met briefly with a small group of soldiers and spouses during a luncheon. She described her own families challenges as the couple's son serves in the National Guard.

"With her son in the military, I think she knows many of the things we deal with and many of our important issues," stated Becky Aiton, an Army wife of 20 years.

Dr. Biden said she and First Lady Michelle Obama have spent the past two years touring military installations to see the conditions and challenges military families face to find ways to improve the quality of life.

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