Return to Headlines

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visits Beverly Gardens & WPAFB


Wright-Patterson Air Force Base hosted first lady Jill Biden on March 29 as part of her Joining Forces initiative.

Joining Forces centers on military family needs in the areas of employment and entrepreneurship; military child education; and health and well-being. The initiative is guided by the life experiences and perspectives of military families and stakeholders during these visits.

Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims; Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, commander of Air Force Materiel Command; and Col. Christopher Meeker, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, were on hand to welcome Biden as she arrived.

Biden, who has a doctorate in education, spent time at Beverly Gardens Elementary School, a Purple Star school, speaking with teachers and helping second-grade students with math problems. According to the White House, Biden meets with military families when she travels, discussing ways to boost employment, child care, and resources.

“I’m a military mom,” Biden said at the elementary school in Riverside, where about 77 percent of students are from Air Force families stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB. “I’m a military daughter and a military grandma.”

Pete LuPiba, the commissioner of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, who founded the Purple Star program, spoke about its importance in Ohio.

“Ohio’s Purple Star school program is meant to help schools respond to the educational and emotional challenges of children in military families, many of whom have frequent deployments, causing their children to move from state to state and school to school,” he said.

To attain Purple Star status, schools must have a trained staff liaison who works with military students and families and the teachers who serve them. They must also have a dedicated webpage featuring resources and hold a military recognition event.

Ohio leads the nation with more than 400 Purple Star schools across the Buckeye State.