Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jane Jayroe's Beautiful Acceptance Remarks

Jane Jayroe Gamble’s Remarks
Upon Her Induction Into the
Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Nov 2007

They say the young person looks forward, the older person looks back and the middle aged person looks startled.

This award is a bit startling; I am so overwhelmed by this honor and by the generosity of others . . . certainly those at the Oklahoma Heritage Association.

You know, I’ve had a lot of unexpected things happen in my life. Certainly the most unlikely was becoming Miss America. But as I’ve had the chance to glance back, I’m so impressed by the goodness of God’s grace to cover me---in good times and bad.

It was surely grace to be born in America and in Oklahoma, where the red earth holds you close and stains your soul, the wind teaches you to grow with deep roots and bend with hard times, and the sense of open space makes you believe in opportunities as big as the sky.

It was grace to be born to Pete, Helene and Judy and a whole pack of joyful aunts, uncles and cousins. What a gift!

To be raised in small rural communities, where every time you stepped up to the line, so to speak, you only had to glance over your shoulder to see a whole host of folks there applauding, urging you on, encouraging your success.

How grateful I am to have played basketball, grown up in the Church, entered pageants, sung on stages, studied with caring teachers, given the news, promoted Oklahoma and shared a friendship with so many of you.

It was grace to win a contest years ago that lifted up Oklahoma to a national spotlight for a moment in time. The greater grace was to share that honor with so many others who even today remind me of how that moment changed them in some small way.

I’m so grateful for a family that has always kept me grounded in life. I’ll never forget one Christmas when I came home following the Miss America year and commented to my family about how great it was to have main street in Laverne renamed Jane Jayroe Blvd. My nephew who was a senior at Laverne High School remarked, “Yeah, it’s really neat. Now, on Sat. night instead of dragging main, we drag Jane.”

I’m so grateful to my mother Helene Grace, who has taught by example the great joy that comes from living a life that values others more than self.
To my sister, Judy, who learned that lesson better than anyone and her family of sons and their families. They are mine as well.

To my son Tyler and Elaine and their children. He has been my greatest joy.
To my husband, Jerry; I’m so grateful for the person he is. This honor truly belongs to both of us.

To my OCU family, my Church of the Servant family, my family of precious girlfriends, my Esther Women family, and my family of volunteer organizations who have taught me leadership and service.

I have such a grateful heart . . . for all of life’s journey. Grateful, not in a superficial, cheery cheerleader kind of way, but in a faithful, trusting way that believes there’s more at work in the world than what the eye sees and that underneath the surface of circumstances is an anchor that holds firm.

So, tonight, I am especially thrilled to accept another moment of grace . . . an undeserved gift--- but so appreciated.
I accept it on behalf of Oklahoma girls from small towns with big dreams.
On behalf of those who fall down in life and by the grace of God stand tall again.
And on behalf of all of us who are crazy in love with Oklahoma.

You know, God created us with a need to belong . . . to each other and to a place. . A land . . . home. . Oklahoma.

Happy Birthday, sweet Oklahoma, God bless us all.

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