By Rep. Sherrie Conley
Let’s talk about the “Oklahoma Standard.”
When the phrase was coined, it meant going above and beyond was “standard” for Oklahomans. Over the last year, I have witnessed Oklahomans going above and beyond, and for me now it’s become “Oklahoma’s Excellence.” I want to share some of that excellence with you.
A senior at a local high school hid the fact he was living in his car. Once this was discovered, many community partners came together with food, clothing, shelter, auto repairs and emotional support to stabilize this young man and get him back home.
Without all the efforts of the wonderful people involved, including those at a local community organization, he might have dropped out of high school, be living on the street or worse. I applaud those who helped or offered. You know who are!
Several local families in need of heating and air service during last fall’s ice storm and this week’s subzero temps have been helped by local family-owned businesses. Again, I applaud you for your service to families. You know who you are!!
There’s also the story of a local family whose father had lost his job and without warning found out his three children from a previous marriage were being taken from their mother. The father and his new wife – with a baby and already struggling – took them in not knowing how they would feed or take care of them.
Someone at a local butcher figured out a way, with the help of a few others, to get them food and groceries until they could come up with a plan to care for their now larger family.
A local counseling organization provided the family with counseling to navigate this new life. Thank you to those who intervened. You know who you are!
Thank you to our front line workers: all types of law enforcement officers who keep us safe; fire fighters, EMTs, nurses, doctors who keep us well; teachers, school staff and administrators who keep educating our kids; restaurant owners and staff, food delivery, grocery store workers who help us keep food on the table; pastors and church staff who worked to figure out how to get God’s word to us even when churches were closed; truck drivers, delivery drivers, post office personnel, and others who ensure we receive our mail and packages; mothers and fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters and other family members who took care of those suffering or unable to care for themselves; neighbors and friends who have checked on each other, propped each other up, listened, mourned, wept, delivered food to those who were sick. I know I’ve missed some, but you get the idea. WE ARE ALL ESSENTIAL!
This last year has been challenging, but together, no matter what our political views, we know we can continue to get through the valleys by looking at the summits we already have scaled and by encouraging, pushing or pulling each other with every step.
Helping one another and showing compassion, teaching our children kindness and philanthropy, and having and sharing HOPE builds resilience.
Resilient humans come through the hard places stronger and are willing to help others through their hard places.
These are some of my examples of “Oklahoma’s Excellence!” I know you will each have your own. And for those who are out there demonstrating it … You know who you are!
(Sherrie Conley serves House District 20 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Cleveland, Garvin, McClain and Pottawatomie counties.)