In the weekly Republican address delivered from the tornado-ravaged town of Moore, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe said victims who lived through the storm are now volunteering to help others rebuild their lives.
"They're America's real heroes," he said.
Oklahomans, Inhofe said, have a tradition of bouncing back from horrific events such as the May 20 tornado that killed 24 and caused billions in damage.
"Oklahoma has been hit hard, but we're not knocked out yet," he said.
Inhofe pointed to similar deadly tornadoes that hit Moore in 1999 and again in 2003, saying that the images and stories from this year's storm are nothing new, but "Oklahoma will persevere and overcome this tragedy as we have demonstrated in the past."
The state's residents also displayed what's become known as the "Oklahoma Standard" after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
"People saw the many ways Oklahomans took care of each other, from running toward the bombing instead of running away, to donating their blood, and their time and their money," he said. "After each disaster the people of Oklahoma face, the Standard is exhibited again and again."
Inhofe said the two elementary schools that were wiped out have stricken a chord with American, and hit the structures on the last day of school for most of the students. He pointed out teachers' heroic actions in saving their children, including second-grade teacher Tammy Glasgow, who prayed with her students and Suzanna Haley, a first-grade special education teacher whose leg was impaled with a part of a desk while she was protecting her students.
People from all around the country have also been helping with the disaster recovery, said Inhofe.
"This most recent storm will only embolden the [Oklahoma] Standard, and encourage the rest of the country to follow our lead," the senator said.
He encouraged Americans to visit the American Red Cross or Salvation Army websites, to volunteer or donate money toward the victims' relief fund.
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