Nightly News   |  May 21, 2013

Fallin: ‘Oklahoma standard’ is neighbor helping neighbor

NBC’s Brian Williams spoke to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin who described the spirit of Oklahomans in a time of crisis, saying they’ll do whatever it takes to help fellow man and that faith is very important to the state as residents pick up the pieces of their lives.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> day long the people of oklahoma have been seeing their governor on television starting with a long briefing this morning. i guess around the noon hour. and can you imagine being the chief executive of the state and being handed a crisis like this. we are joined by the governor of oklahoma , mary fallin . governor, thank you, on such a busy time for finding time to join us on the broadcast tonight. first of all, since you got people watching tonight from new york to san diego who don't know anything about your state particularly or your town, what do you tell people about what moore, oklahoma , is and what the folks here are like?

>> moore, oklahoma , is about community. it's about neighbor helping neighbor. it's about coming together in a time of crisis like this and doing whatever it takes to help people, help our fellow man. we've certainly seen that. we have a terrible disaster here. april 19th of 1995 we had a federal building bombed. and oklahoma became known for their resilience, their compassion, their humility and pulling together in a time of need and helping each other. it became known as the oklahoma standard. once again we're seeing that displayed throughout this entire community. we're seeing people that are coming to the rescue of others who have been harmed in the disaster or helping provide needed items or helping to volunteer their time. a tremendous effort here.

>> i watched your entire briefing today. you had all heads of state departments including churches, conferences of churches. you have almost a faith-based fema here in addition to fema. the first thing to learn about oklahoma often is it's a very religious state. and that comes in critically right now for a lot of these people.

>> faith will be very important, especially moving forward, but it's about the spirit of mankind and the love and compassion that our citizens show time and time again. and we will overcome this. we will become stronger as a state. and we'll be able to get through this. but right now our hearts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones. it's been devastating. when i walked up to the school last night and walked up to that scene and it looked even worse than this. to think about the parents that dropped off their children that morning not knowing it might be the last time they'd ever see them, it just took your breath away.

>> knowing that none of this is anybody's fault, a very basic question about taxpayer priorities. can't this country afford a safe room in every oklahoma elementary school if it's $1.4 million?

>> we've been working towards that. the school that was destroyed that had so much damage was one of our older schools. this is a growing community. as they've been building new schools throughout oklahoma and some that have been struck by tornados in the past, we have put in safe areas. and i know we had a tornado a couple years ago in remote oklahoma , and the school was hit, but the students were in the safe room. it was an actual concrete room. and they were all saved.

>> i was just going to say that, sadly, for all the wrong reasons, you'll have all new construction here, and this is a chance for all these building codes , all the experts to come here and make it come true.

>> absolutely. we were talking to fema today. we appreciate administrator hugh bates is here and we talked about what can we do to improve on the situation, what can we learn from this. these buildings had older structures and had different koesd at the time. but we'll rebuild and rebuild better.

>> governor, we thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

>> we appreciate the news media