For Oklahomans, dreams of a “White Christmas” might never be the same again. As you know, a blizzard on Christmas Eve dumped snow and ice on much of the state. Some areas saw accumulations of as much as 14 inches. Thousands of motorists caught in the ferocious weather had no choice but to abandon their vehicles. It was a punishing winter storm, one that Oklahomans — no strangers to severe weather conditions — will not soon forget.

And through it all, Oklahomans responded with the strength, steadfastness and neighborliness that have come to define who we are. People pitched in to help friend and stranger alike. There was a myriad of daunting needs — extricating cars trapped by snow, providing shelter and warmth for those who had nowhere to turn — but, as so often happens when Oklahomans face a challenge, our people excelled. Good Samaritans abounded.

Of course, many state and local entities worked round the clock in the recovery. Highway Patrol troopers, National Guardsmen and state Department of Transportation crews assisted in rescues of stranded motorists, as did local firefighters, law enforcement and emergency medical personnel across Oklahoma. Many hospital staffs worked extended hours because colleagues were unable to make their shift.

That commitment also extended to Oklahoma’s meteorologists and news media. As severe as the blizzard was, its consequences would have been far worse had it not been for the dedication of print, broadcast and online media giving people useful information. It is easy to take those folks for granted, but the winter storm was another reminder of the crucial work they do.

In the end, winter’s fury proved to be another indication that Oklahomans are a very special people. As a proud and lifelong Oklahoman, I am continually impressed by the extraordinary warmth of our citizens — even under the coldest conditions.

GOV. BRAD HENRY may be reached via his Web site at

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