We Nebraskans—we’re a strong bunch.

But I don’t have to tell you that. If you live here, you know it. I don’t have to rehash with you the rare phenomenon of a bomb cyclone. How, in our ever-changing state of weather, we can go from high to low pressure in too few hours and experience a blizzard, hurricane-force winds, rain, record snowmelt, and flood. We’ve had a 100-year flood, even a 500-year flood recently. What we just had was a beast all unto its own.

But I don’t have to tell you that.

You’ve all seen the pictures of devastation. Landlocked towns becoming islands, bridges floating away, roads disintegrating under the sheer power of rushing water. Farms buried under twenty-foot slabs of ice, calves birthed to a short life, grain bins split at the seams. Some of you have lived it, endured it, and are still suffering from the aftermath of it.

Nebraska StrongOur hearts go out to you.

But here’s what makes us different—something that makes us Nebraskans a rare and unique bunch. When we say our hearts go out to you, it’s not just our hearts; it’s our hands, feet, airboats, and trucks. It’s the backhoe operator battling an ice jam for three hours in freezing rain to help save a bridge. It’s the pilot renting a plane on his day off to fly in supplies. It’s the 8-year-old girl hosting a LemonAID stand to raise money for her flooded neighbors. It’s hay transported from a non-flooded field to a flooded one to feed starving cattle standing in freezing water. No payment necessary.

It’s the generosity of giving that makes us different.

Most of us are too humble to ask for help. We Nebraskans know that about each other even if we don’t know each other personally. That’s why strangers show up with buckets to help clean up the muck, food to help feed the volunteers, and fresh water when there is none. It’s what makes us Nebraskans. We lend a helping hand when needed. No request needed. No thanks necessary.

I think the state’s marketing team got it right this year. We may not be a place everyone.

But we are #NebraskaStrong.Nebraska Strong

Jennie is a native Nebraskan and aspiring writer. She’s a stay-at-home mom to three kids, two cats, a bearded dragon, and a handful of fish. When she’s not playing chauffeur, maid, cook, housekeeper, tutor, laundress, or answering to “Mom” a million times over; she hides in her writing nook and lives vicariously through her fiction characters. Jennie likes to read, take long walks, go on crazy road-trip vacations her wonderful husband plans, or simply sit on the deck with friends.