Melania Trump, Karen Pence visit elementary school students, military agencies to discuss emergency prep

Melania Trump and Karen Pence paid a visit Wednesday to a group of fifth-graders in South Carolina prepping emergency pillowcase kits for natural disasters as part of an initiative to mentally and physically prepare children for evacuations.

The first and second ladies handed out flashlights to students at Lambs Elementary School in North Charleston participating in the Red Cross Pillowcase Project.

"I love what you are doing," Melania Trump told one girl as the children determined what items they'd need to pack for emergencies. After learning that the girl's sister is a member of the military, Trump offered a thank-you for her service.

First lady Melania Trump speaks to students at Lambs Elementary Wednesday in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

First lady Melania Trump speaks to students at Lambs Elementary Wednesday in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

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The first lady also praised the school for implementing “such an important program to help prepare children for emergencies.”

Trump and Pence's visit to South Carolina comes weeks after the state was swept up in the path of Hurricane Dorian just after Labor Day. The pair were briefed by several major emergency response teams at Joint Base Charleston about their methods of emergency preparedness, including mobilizing federal resources before and after natural disasters.

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 841st Transportation Battalion, the U.S. Coast Guard, the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings and the 628th Emergency Operations Center were all in attendance.

First lady Melania Trump addresses military members and their families on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. Listening are Col. Terrence Adams, left, and Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

First lady Melania Trump addresses military members and their families on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. Listening are Col. Terrence Adams, left, and Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

During an address to a group of more than 500 people, most of them active military members and their families, Melania Trump praising the recent raid targeting Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria.

“Our military has never been stronger, or more capable than it is now,” she said. “And our nation will continue to stand strong in the face of any enemy.

The first lady also acknowledged the sacrifice of military service members and thanked them for their continued commitment to the nation's safety.

“I’m reminded every time about the important missions you, our military do around the world,” she said. “You carry the message of duty, honor and country wherever you deploy our teams, a testament to our national unity, demonstrating every day how our communities can lean on each other and find the strength and courage to step forward when called upon in times of need. Whether it is missing loved ones currently deployed, or families struggling to cope with loss, the military community always demonstrates what the resilience look like in the face of adversity.”

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The wives of President Trump and Vice President Pence were greeted on the tarmac by Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and his wife, Peggy. McMaster has long been an ally of the president, having been the first statewide elected official in the country to endorse Trump's 2016 candidacy while he was lieutenant governor.

The first lady's visit came just days after President Trump's traveled to South Carolina, where he participated in a criminal justice forum last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.