Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., has left the hospital after having heart surgery last week and is monitoring the recovery from a tornado that ripped through suburban Little Rock, Ark.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones in this devastation," Boozman said in statement released by his office. "While Arkansans are all too familiar with the destruction that Mother Nature can leave behind, it never gets easier. Arkansans have always come together in the most difficult times to help neighbors in need. It’s clear that commitment continues today."
At least 16 people are dead in Arkansas as a result of the twister, which hit Sunday, according to reports. The tornado left an 80-mile path of destruction.
President Barack Obama, currently on a trip to Asia, sent his condolences from the Philippines and directed the administration to help and provide resources, including sending Craig Fugate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator.
"I’m receiving regular updates from my staff about the current search and rescue effort," Boozman continued. "I will work with the governor’s office, the congressional delegation and FEMA Administrator Fugate to make sure that Arkansans get the resources they need to respond, rebuild and recover. We will help in any way we can.”
Boozman's comments come after his heart surgery last week. According to his family, he was taken to the hospital early Tuesday morning, by his wife Cathy, after suffering pain in his chest and shoulder. At the time he was alert, responsive and in good spirits despite the discomfort and pain.
After running several tests, doctors diagnosed Boozman with an acute aortic dissection and he was admitted for immediate surgery. The surgeons who performed the operation, which lasted several hours, said that Boozman responded well to the procedure.
He has since begun his recovery.
Boozman, 63, is the junior senator from Arkansas, serving since 2011. He previously served in the House, representing the 3rd District.