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Oklahoman’s Resiliency Serves As a Lesson For All

oklahoma-tornado-disaster

Working in the health care industry, especially in a hospital, caring for others is a way of life.

One of the great things about working at Baylor is, whether you are clinical or not, you feel a genuine responsibility to follow the golden rule, treating others as you want to be treated. Our staff is here to serve, to heal and to comfort. That positivity is contagious and it makes for a pretty good place to come to work every day.

I’ll admit it takes something pretty special on the “greatness of the human spirit” scale to catch my attention. After seeing how things developed over the past week in Moore, Oklahoma, consider my attention caught and my mind blown.

On Wednesday night, many celebrities from Oklahoma pulled together to put on a heartfelt benefit concert for the victims of the recent tornadoes there called “Healing in the Heartland“. It was a very public example of how Oklahomans take care of their own.

I’m biased. I spent most of my life in Oklahoma and I love the people there. Turns out the people are even better than I thought. Growing up in Oklahoma you sort of grow immune to tornados. Tornado sirens almost become white noise.

From kindergarten through graduation young people participate in as many tornado drills as fire drills.

“Explore."

Much like the humidity in Houston or the snow in Minnesota, tornados are simply a way of life on the plains—the storms become more a fascination than a fear.

Unfortunately, there are times Mother Nature reminds us who is boss. Sometimes there is no amount of preparation or warning that can save us from her fury. This is a story Moore, Oklahoma knows all too well.

If Tornado Alley had a capital city, it would be Moore.

In May of 1999, Moore was hammered by one of the worst tornados on record. Wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and ripped apart lives. In 2003, another storm tore through the same area of the city damaging many structures rebuilt after the first storm.

A decade later, the people of Moore are struggling to come to terms with the destruction and devastation caused by the latest twister. A disaster that appears to be on par with the worst tornados we’ve seen anywhere.

What’s worse—this storm hit us where it hurts; it took the lives of children. Children who, this week, would’ve been home from school on summer vacation.

It’s hard to stomach, it’s difficult to comprehend. However, with tragedy comes an opportunity for the kindness of the human spirit to shine.

It brings hope to know first responders found so many survivors. The pain is lessened, when doctors and nurses saved lives. Volunteers providing food and water to the victims and churches opening the doors as shelters reminded us that people really are good.

In the last week, I’ve heard about the resiliency of the Oklahoma people. It’s true, “Okies” are a tough bunch.

Unfortunately, resiliency is earned not given. Resiliency comes at a high cost; just ask our grandparents who withstood The Great Depression or our friends who survived the Oklahoma City bombing. Ask the residents of Moore who picked themselves up in 1999 and 2003 and, no doubt, will do so again.

If we can find a positive in the tragedy, it serves as a reminder to focus on helping others. Our neighbors, our friends, our families are sometimes all we have.  It’s good to remember to be a better caregiver, or father, or brother, or neighbor. Bottom line, we can all be better.

The reminder comes at a high price but kudos to the people of Oklahoma for being a shining example of the good that resides in all of us.

About the author

Chris Callahan
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Chris is the former marketing director at Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital. He is a former television journalist, an Oklahoma Sooners fan and music lover who can no longer imagine life without Twitter.

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Oklahoman’s Resiliency Serves As a Lesson For All