Thank you to all of our colleagues in so many organizations who have reached out to check on our team and community in the wake of the horrible disasters of the past 2 days.
Our team is all safe and has suffered minimal damage. Our tourism infrastructure has also suffered minimal impact – and I’m thankful for that primarily because of the massive hotel room need we are experiencing right now. The full impact of the situation will not be known for several days as everyone’s focus changes from the immediate needs of rescue and reconnecting families to the longer term recovery and rebuilding.
Unfortunately Oklahoma, and particularly the Oklahoma City metro area, has had to deal with natural disasters and other emergency situations too often over the past 20 years. Our people are strong and resilient. Our emergency services personnel are among the best in the country and are as prepared as anyone can be for these challenges. Our community services agencies such as the American Red Cross, Oklahoma Blood Institute, Feed the Children, Regional Food Bank and others are ready and were among the first non-emergency personnel on the scene. The Oklahoma National Guard has been unbelievable already. The latest request we are hearing from the command post is for volunteers to not show up as there are so many there already.
Oklahoma has long responded to events of this nature with what has become known as The Oklahoma Standard. We help each other with no expectation of compensation or return other than that we are always ready to help each other. That has never been more evident than in events like this.
We ask for your prayers for our people – the survivors, the families of the victims and our community leaders who are providing such outstanding coordination of the rescue and recovery efforts. We are strong and we will recover as we have in every previous challenge.
As we move forward we will be posting updates on our website www.visitOKC.com. Our industry is responding as it always does to serve the needs that are present. Travel thru OKC on I-40 and I-44 is normal. I-35 in the southern OKC Metro area is slow but open.
I have been asked by several of our colleagues if they can help. Thank you. The best way to help is by contribution to the relief funds for the tragedy. There are numerous funds available but I know The Oklahoma Fund – American Red Cross is not only legitimate but serves as a tremendous resource in these situations -- http://www.redcross.org/news/press-release/Red-Cross-Statement-on-Oklahoma-Tornado
Michael J. Carrier