The month of May has been extremely difficult as tornadoes devastated Oklahoma, claiming the lives of many, causing hundreds of injuries, and destroying thousands of homes. Through these storms, we saw pain and suffering. However; we also saw Oklahomans unite and work together to make the best of a tragic situation.
As I visited the areas affected by the storms, I was proud to see first responders, state leaders, city and county officials, and many volunteers dedicating all their efforts to search, rescue and recovery.
The first responders provided much needed assistance, and I want to thank them for their immediate action in dealing with an extremely sensitive and heart wrenching situation. They were very helpful in pulling people from the massive piles of rubble and getting storm victims to safety after the tornadoes occurred. These responders were suddenly thrown into a compromising scene and handled it with tremendous courage.
Oklahoma’s state officials showed exceptional leadership in dealing with the tragedies. I commend Governor Mary Fallin and her staff as they have led the entire state through the storm and continue to provide valuable resources.
The leadership of city and county officials has been vital to coordinate relief efforts, and I greatly appreciate their tireless work.
Organizations in Oklahoma, such as the Red Cross, the United Way and the Baptist General Convention continue providing storm victims with resources needed to help them recover. Without these organizations, many would still be seeking help.
FEMA has provided exceptional assistance to those affected by the May tornadoes. According to the Governor’s office, over $4.6 million in direct assistance has already been distributed to over 6,000 Oklahomans who applied for disaster relief.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has been very helpful with debris removal. Additionally, electric companies and rural electric co-ops have worked diligently to restore power as quickly as possible.
Many individuals, churches, food banks and groups across the nation have graciously contributed by leading fundraising efforts and donating supplies. In addition, they have all showed compassion by covering Oklahoma with prayers.
Witnessing Oklahomans and the rest of the nation unite to help recover from these storms reminds me how fortunate we are to live in America, where people are always willing to lend a helping hand. There is still work to be done, but with the team work I have already seen, I know a full recovery will be accomplished.
Looking forward, I can assure you my office will continue assisting those in need by helping them get the resources necessary to recover. Should anyone need information on how they can help or how they can get assistance, please contact my office at (405) 373-1958. I will continue to keep those affected by the storms in my thoughts and prayers as they rebuild and get back on their feet.