I was in the Oklahoma City metro when the May 3, 1999 tornadoes ripped through Moore, watching it from my fraternity house at college. And I was here when the May 20, 2013 tornadoes as well, this time at my office in Edmond.
In business circles a lot of people know I’m from Oklahoma City … and were asking me, “Are you OK?”
Last Friday night, as I looked at our four-month-old baby sleeping, huddled inside a friend’s underground shelter after the threat of more severe weather just over a week after the recent devastation, I began to think the question many people I know who live elsewhere want to ask me is: Why do you still want to stay in Oklahoma?
This is home.
Home is home. And for us, that’s Oklahoma.
Although we love traveling to other states, cities and countries, Oklahoma is still where our heart is. And will always be.
We have family here. We have friends here. We have history here. Stories, experiences and memories … all made here.
Some of the best experiences of my life happened here … my wife Lindsey and I met and fell in love here. Our son, Caloway, was born here. And professionally, I launched iThemes (and with it my lifelong dream of being an entrepreneur) here.
Honestly, there are a ton of other reasons why I love Oklahoma beyond this and why Oklahoma should be an attractive place for anyone to move and live. But if you need one more reason why it feels like home … I’ll tell you perhaps the most compelling one.
In the last five years, I’ve traveled fairly extensively for business. In all of the amazing cities I’ve visited, from Boston to Chicago to San Francisco … I’ve never met more friendly, caring and giving people than here in Oklahoma.
If you need examples or proof of this … ask the people of Moore who lost homes about their fellow Oklahomans who gave freely of their time, energy and even money. Then ask the firefighters, police officers, Red Cross volunteers and everybody else who sought to help them about the Oklahoma spirit.
In fact, talking to a CNN producer, who had been covering the tornadoes and those affected by it, verified it as well with me and said our city’s axiom should be: Be Neighborly.
In addition to this feeling (and fact), in the last 10 years or so, our city and state has been seen so many amazing new and exciting changes. (But that’s all for another post.)
Yes, severe weather is also part of our life here at HOME in Oklahoma … BUT … it is not our entire life.
It’s a small sliver of life here for us.
Tornadoes don’t define us. Neither does tragedy.
It merely shapes us to be more of who we are … while providing the opportunity to show it to the world.
And that’s why I’m proud to be an Oklahoman and to continue calling this great state … OUR HOME.