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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 24, 2005
President Thanks Emergency Operations Personnel
Texas Emergency Operations Center
3:12 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: I'd like to thank you all for the hard work you're doing. I appreciate Senators Hutchison and Cornyn, Congressman DeLay, Governor Perry.
First of all, the people of the state are counting on you. I know you're working hard. And I appreciate the response - nobody asks for these things, but when they come, we have a duty. I'm really here to let the folks in Texas know that the federal government knows we have a responsibility to support you in the mission of saving lives, first and foremost, and then help to rebuild their lives.
There's some issues that we've been briefed on that I think it's important for our fellow citizens to understand in Texas, that for those who feel like they need to get back to a city like Houston, it's important to delay your trip, so that essential personnel are able to get to the affected areas. We've got - we're moving assets - military assets, for example - trying to help people who need help, and if the highways are clogged it's going to make it hard to get those assets into the affected areas.
Houston hospitals, for example, are in need of nurses. Nurses who are now trying to get back in are having problems getting on the highways. And so I would ask for those of you in the state to - who are in safe places now, not to hurry back to a city like Houston, and let these highways flow with necessary goods and services to the people in deep east Texas who have been affected.
I know for a lot of folks in the states, these are miserable times. I hope you can take some comfort knowing there's a lot of people - like the people in this room who are working overtime to save you and to help you; and that I think you'll be amazed by the extraordinary compassion of the people of Texas as they rise up to help their fellow citizens in need.
At any rate, it's good to see you all. Thank you for your hard work. May God bless those who have been affected, may God bless those who are helping those who have been affected, and may God bless the country. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 3:14 P.M. CDT