Families around the nation will gather this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, a day that's intended for us to reflect and be reminded of the unmeasured blessings poured out upon us by a gracious and loving God. This year has been challenging for Oklahomans due to the tornadoes in May. Yet despite our circumstances, we continue to be thankful.
We are thankful because we live in a country of citizens who help one another when there's a need. When the eyes of the nation were on Oklahoma after the tornadoes, countless thousands of people from near and far answered the call to help. Millions of dollars were donated, homes were opened for displaced families and people rallied to be a source of support for the hurting.
We're thankful because we've emerged even stronger since the tragedy, as many have found strength through serving. Just weeks after the tornadoes, the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief Team, which was at the center of the relief efforts, found our neighbors in need. Colorado was affected by wildfires and more recently floods; our volunteers stepped forward to serve there, showing that Oklahoma is characterized by generosity and service.
We're thankful that in the wake of natural disaster, Oklahoma's economy is still thriving. Our unemployment rate continues to be lower than the national average, and our housing values and gross domestic product have increased. In a time of national economic uncertainty, it's a tremendous blessing to live in a continually growing and developing state.