Moore state representatives thank donors, first responders, volunteers
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Published: 23-May-2013

Members of the Oklahoma state House of Representatives took to the floor and the Internet on May 23 (Thursday) to express gratitude to first responders – rescue workers, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, police officers, National Guardsmen, and community volunteers – who poured into the residential streets of Moore and south Oklahoma City immediately after Monday’s devastating F-5 tornado.

The legislators also praised the wave of private sector donations from state, regional and national businesses, individuals and non-profit groups. A tsunami of contributions began soon after the extent of storm damage became clear just three days ago, before sunset on Monday.

The chorus of praise came from the four House Republican members – Paul Wesselhoft, Mark McBride, Josh Cockroft and Jon Echols -- who represent portions of Cleveland County, including Moore, which bore the brunt of the storm damage on Monday

“Every donation is appreciated, regardless of size. The Salvation Army has reported that a donation as small as $10 can feed a victim for an entire day. With estimated damages in excess of $2 billion, every contribution is vital,” Wesselhoft said. 

Wesselhoft and many others have pointed to gifts from Devon Energy Corporation and Continental Resources, which each pledged $2.5 million soon after the storm hit. Others companies and individuals came forward with donations of $1 million or half-million dollar pledges. 

McBride reflected, “At least twenty other private companies and individuals have pledged generous sums to help repair the damage caused by the tornado to City of Moore and other areas throughout the state.”

Also on Thursday, the House sent a $45 million measure taking money from the Constitutional Reserve (Rainy Day Fund) to provide a state match for anticipated federal relief spending, and other state expenditures in support of local government responses to the devastation.  

As I understand, within just a few days, donations have surpassed the dollar amounts donated during any other natural disaster to occur in the United States, with total contributions now close to $70 million. And that doesn’t even include state or federal matching aid,” Rep. Echols said in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK. 

Rep. Cockroft, R-Tecumseh, said in comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, “The state of Oklahoma is loved by its own people, and people throughout the country and world. With the generosity and help of those throughout the world reaching out, Cleveland County, and other areas damaged by the tornado, will be rebuilt to be even stronger than before.

The legislators also applauded the efforts of Oklahomans like country stars Blake Shelton and Toby Keith, who have announced benefit concerts. 

An Assemblyman from Queens, New York – Philip Goldfeder – met with legislators Wednesday (May 22) to discuss the experiences of his district, where 85 percent of the homes were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.

Goldfeder said he made the visit to Oklahoma to mirror the generosity Oklahomans, including first responders, showed to his constituents after Sandy came ashore in 2012. 

You may contact Patrick B. McGuigan at Patrick@capitolbeatok.com and follow us on Twitter: @capitolbeatok.

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