A senate review by Sen. Al McAffrey

Oklahoma State Sen. Al McAffrey. Photo by Robin Dorner.

I never ceased to be amazed by the strong spirit of my fellow Oklahomans and their unending generosity and kindness.  This week’s devastating storm once again showed the world what many refer to as the “Oklahoma standard”.  Even before the dust had settled, strangers were searching through the rubble to try to help those hurt or trapped.

Oklahoma City and Moore’s first responders were there immediately followed by the National Guard and police, firemen and EMT’s from around the state.  The response to this horrific storm is commendable.  Not a minute was wasted and lives were saved because of it.

When children and others are asked who their heroes are many times they’ll name famous people – singers, athletes, actors, etc.  But this week, our state has once again seen true life heroes in action.

These include the police officers, firemen, EMTs, nurses, utility workers and city workers who have been working round the clock since the storm hit to assist the victims and their families.  This also includes those brave teachers who did whatever they could to protect their students during the storm even putting their lives in danger by doing so.  These are real heroes!

There is no way we can repay these heroes but when you see them out be sure to thank them for their service and if you want show them some act of kindness, buy them lunch or a cup of coffee.  It will mean the world to them!

To the thousands of volunteers who have generously given of their time and finances, your state thanks you!  This is another example of what makes Oklahomans different than other states.  Often times in other states when a natural disaster happens, citizens wait for their government to fix everything.  But that’s not the case in our wonderful state.  Volunteers were in the area as fast as the first responders ready to start collecting and sorting through donations, handing out water or whatever else they could do to help.

Where natural disasters, like this, might break some communities, they always bring ours together and make us stronger.  God bless everyone who has had a hand in the rescue and clean up.

In light of everything I just said, I hope that our legislative leaders will remember all of these heroes next year, especially our teachers, public safety officers and others whose salaries are determined by the state.  We can never repay them for their service this week and during other natural disasters, but we can show them our respect and appreciation by providing them with some kind of pay raise.  Unfortunately, nothing can be done this year because the budget has already been approved and signed by the Governor but this should be at the top of the legislature’s priority list next year.

Again, thank you to everyone who has donated their time, money, food or other items for the families in Moore. To the National Guard members, police officers, firemen, EMTs, nurses and utility workers, you’re tremendous service has not gone unnoticed.  We are so thankful to have hardworking, dedicated professionals like you in our community and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 

If you have any questions or comments, I can be reached by email at mcaffrey@oksenate.gov or by phone at (405) 521-5610.  You can also write me:  Senator Al McAffrey, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 527A, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105.