- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Text of Gov. Jay Nixon’s State of the State address as prepared for delivery Tuesday evening:

Thank you, Lieutenant Governor Kinder, Speaker Jones, President Pro Tem Dempsey, judges of the Missouri Supreme Court, state officials, members of the legislature, members of my cabinet, and my fellow Missourians.

With us tonight are Missouri’s exceptional First Lady, Georganne, and our son, Will.

Tonight, we are honored to be joined by Missourians who put their lives on the line to protect the lives of others. Whether they fight our enemies abroad or protect our communities at home, these ordinary men and women do extraordinary things. They are real heroes.

On August 6, in the dark of night, deadly flash floods struck several Missouri communities without warning. In Pulaski County, creeks became raging rivers, rising by as much as 23 feet - inundating homes, washing out roads and, ultimately, claiming lives.

There were many acts of bravery that night, as state and local emergency personnel fanned out to look for folks who needed help.

Two local firefighters had been attempting to rescue a man and a young child, when their boat capsized in the rushing water, leaving all four of them clinging to a single guidewire.

Another local first responder had been holding two women above water for thirty minutes, never giving up on the rescue attempt, but tiring.

Fortunately, Corporal Lance DeClue and Lieutenant Justin McCullough of our Missouri State Highway Patrol were on duty that night.

Overcoming darkness and debris, pouring rain and treacherous floodwaters, and even a stalled rescue boat, troopers DeClue and McCullough got all seven of these individuals to safety.

Three years ago, when we worked together to merge the State Highway and Water Patrols, we knew this change would improve efficiency and reduce overhead. It has. But in the rushing waters that night, it was clear that the benefits of this reform went way beyond balance sheets. It saved lives.

I’d like us all to recognize Corporal DeClue and Lieutenant McCullough, who are with us tonight. Please join me in thanking them for their service and heroism.

These brave Missourians remind us that the true strength of our state cannot be measured in bricks or bushels, but in the talents and tenacity of our citizens.

Here in Missouri, folks don’t shy away from challenges - they work together to tackle them. Getting up early. working hard. staying late. and looking out for one another.

And thanks to the people of Missouri, the state of our state is strong, and growing stronger with each passing day.

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