Jill Biden thanked military spouses for their service and outlined her priorities for her Joining Forces initiative during a visit to Fort Carson on Thursday.
The first lady made her remarks ahead of Military Spouse Appreciation Day on Friday at the base near Colorado Springs as she wraps up a two-day West Coast tour that included stops at schools and a vaccination clinic.
‘There’s a saying, if you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it. But after getting to know so many of you during the last, I don’t know if so many, many years, I think we should change that saying to if you want to get something done, ask a military spouse,’ said Biden, who is the daughter of a serviceman and whose son served in uniform.
She was dressed in a matching purple skirt and blazer with a white blouse – and a member of her staff was seen holding her purse – which featured an adorable emblem of her two German Shepherds, Champ and Major.
She addressed spouses at a USO event at the army post and stayed to speak with them after her remarks.
She praised them for the variety of tasks they handle so their spouse can serve in the armed forces.
‘You change jobs and you start businesses, you handle the logistics of every move, and make sure that your kids have what they need to keep learning. You are the default parent and are steadfast partners to your spouses, whether they’re stateside or halfway around the world,’ Biden said.
Jill Biden thanked military spouses for their service and outlined her priorities for her Joining Forces initiative during a visit to Fort Carson in Colorado
First Lady Jill Biden chats with Wounded warrior Master Sergeant Israel Del Toro Jr. and his wife Carmen as she arrives at a meeting with military spouses in Colorado Springs
Jill Biden arrived in Colorado on Thursday, the last stop in her two-day West Coast tour
Jill Biden elbow bumps Democratic Sen. Mike Bennett upon her arrival in Colorado
A member of Biden’s staff was seen holding her purse – which featured an adorable emblem of her two German Shepherds, Champ and Major
Biden addressed spouses at a USO event and stayed to speak with them after her remarks
She noted her Joining Forces initiative will focus on better employment opportunities for spouses and more childcare options, along with better mental health benefits and wellness benefits.
‘Your service to this country has earned nothing less, and giving you the support you need to thrive matters to me and to the president,’ she said.
Biden has restarted Joining Forces – the initiative she and Michelle Obama began during the Obama administration.
There are more than 1.3 million active-duty service members, 52% of whom are married, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And 642,000 children under 18 are living in those households.
Jill Biden’s father, Donald Jacobs, was a Navy signalman in World War II. Her late son, Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, served in the Delaware Army National Guard, including a year in Iraq.
Her tribute to service members wrapped up a thank you tour that included stops with healthcare workers, students, teachers, and nurses.
Earlier Thursday, the first lady was in Nevada where she surprised the teacher of the year with flowers and thanked nurses with White House-shaped cookies.
It was an early morning for the first lady as she surprised National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey during a live appearance on CBS’ This Morning.
Then Biden stopped at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas to thank nurses during their 7 a.m. shift change.
The first lady passed out White House-shaped sugar cookies for National Nurses’ Day.
Biden visits with military spouses during her visit to Fort Carson military in Colorado
Biden greets Erin Nash, military spouse of Command Sgt. Maj. Adam Nash, during her visit to Fort Carson military base south of Colorado Springs on Thursday
Biden speaks with military spouses after her remarks at Fort Carson on Thursday
Jill Biden surprised National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey with flowers and a letter of thanks from the president live on CBS’ This Morning
The first lady then thanked nurses at University Medical Hospital, in Las Vegas, for National Nurses’ Day
Biden, a teacher, had her staff change her schedule so she could be in Nevada to surprise Urtubey, an elementary special education teacher, with flowers and a letter of thanks from President Joe Biden.
The first lady is on a West Coast tour of Utah, Nevada and Colorado.
‘Oh my goodness,’ Urtubey said, jumping out of her seat when Biden walked into her classroom at Kermit R Booker elementary school in Las Vegas.
The two women, both of whom were masked, shook hands.
The winner of the award is usually recognized by the president at a White House ceremony each spring, but that’s been postponed because of the COVID pandemic.
Urtubey, an educator for 11 years, has called Jill Biden her hero in the past.
‘I was obviously elated. I mean, it’s so amazing. And I’m so grateful for a change of tone of positivity, of focusing on education to get our students what they need. It’s so beautiful,’ she said of her award and the surprise.
Urtubey’s students call her ‘Ms. Earth’ because she uses a garden in her teaching. Her students formed a garden club called ‘Gnomies’ to care for the community garden, which includes flowers, fruit trees, vegetables and more than a dozen murals.
Biden said she hopes the COVID-19 pandemic has shown America how crucial teachers are.
‘For so long, teachers were undervalued,’ she said on CBS. ‘But now hopefully, you know, all of America after this pandemic has seen what teachers have done and how they’ve just taken care of our kids. It’s just been such a tough time, and teachers have risen to this moment.’
Jill Biden chatted with nurses, bumped elbows, and posed for photos
The first lady also passed out White House shaped sugar cookies to the nurses
First lady Jill Biden talks as she visits a classroom at Glendale Middle School on Wednesday morning. During the class, student Eli Kaufusi put a colorful lei around the first lady’s neck
First lady Jill Biden visits a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mobile vaccination clinic at Jordan Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday
After her surprise morning show appearance, Biden joined the Service Employees International Union in thanking nurses.
Hospital staff were lined up outside to meet her.
The first lady chatted with them, bumped elbows, and posed for photos. She was joined by Nevada Democratic lawmakers Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Susie Lee, Sen. Jacky Rosen and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
She’ll return to the White House on Thursday evening.
On Wednesday, Biden visited a school and vaccination clinic in Utah.