NORMAN — As we look back on the tornadoes that devastated Oklahoma last May, we still mourn the precious lives taken, neighborhoods destroyed and communities shaken.
Despite a heartbreaking tragedy, especially for those living in my hometown of Moore, Oklahomans proved their resilience, and the rest of the nation supported us every step of the way.
A year later, our state is stronger and recovery continues to look better each day, but this would not be possible without those who navigated the tragedy, responding immediately and with great urgency during the critical first hours.
The extraordinary outpouring of generosity and support from the entire nation — including first responders, local volunteers and countless donors — was beyond belief.
Through local and national fundraising efforts and the dedicated work of volunteers, never once were we lacking in supplies or shelter for victims of the storms.
We remember the exceptional leadership of our state and local officials, including Gov. Mary Fallin, Civil Emergency Director Albert Ashwood, Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis, Moore City Manager Steve Eddy, Newcastle Mayor Karl Nail and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.
Their tireless work pulled us through a nightmare and kept our hearts and spirits alive.
President Barack Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Director Craig Fugate personally came to Moore to survey the damage and offered support during the recovery process.
Their watchful eye over the situation ensured that Oklahoma, especially the Moore community, received the aid needed from FEMA.
In addition, members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, reached out to express their sympathy and offered support in Oklahoma’s time of need.
All of this reminds me that in trying circumstances, Americans always will come together to help their fellow Americans.
Even a year after the tornadoes, Oklahomans who were displaced by the storms are not forgotten. Recovery efforts are still in full force.