Arrington, who was seated in a wheelchair, told those watching in person and online that “I’m really just a nobody.”
“The fact that you opened your hearts and your prayers to me — I’m just somebody who wants to serve. I don’t deserve it. There are a thousand people that get hurt every day,” she added, thanking hospital staff for “doing miracles.”
At one point, she grew emotional as she discussed her brush with death. “God is great, and let’s always remember that,” she said.
The timing of Arrington’s anticipated return to campaigning was not immediately clear. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is expected to stand in for the state lawmaker at some upcoming events, Arrington’s campaign manager said earlier this week.
Arrington and a friend were driving on South Carolina’s Highway 17 last month when their car was struck by a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction. Both Arrington and the friend, Jacqueline Goff, were hospitalized. Helen White, the driver of the other car, was killed.
The crash came a little over a week after Arrington bested Rep. Mark Sanford to win the Republican primary nod in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. Arrington had received a last-minute boost in the race from President Trump, who tweeted out his support for her hours before polls closed. Arrington will face Democrat Joe Cunningham in November.
Arrington told reporters Friday that she “did not lose consciousness for a second” during the crash. She offered her “deepest, most profound condolences” to White’s family and said that while she is eager to get home and resume campaigning, her road to recovery remains painful.
“I may look good on the outside to you all; I’m in a great deal of pain,” Arrington said.
As the event concluded, Arrington urged those in attendance to be careful on the road.
“Drive safely, people,” she said. “Please, drive safely.”
David Weigel contributed to this report.