NOTE: This first appeared in the Tulsa World on June 27, 2024. Pierce H. Norton II is the president and chief executive officer of ONEOK and a tri-chair for the Tulsa Area United Way 2024 centennial fundraiser.

The upcoming Fourth of July holiday is a time to give thanks for our freedom and reflect on the principles that are foundational to our country. One that stands out to me — especially here in Tulsa — is our commitment to giving back, as it’s ingrained in our American culture and tradition.

My wife and I have been fortunate to call Tulsa our home for almost two decades. Throughout that time, I have seen the positive impact the Tulsa Area United Way makes in supporting nonprofits across its service area, which is why I am privileged to serve as a tri-chair for the 2024 centennial fundraiser.

This year’s theme is “100 starts with ONE,” and it’s a great reminder of the difference one person, one donation or one act of service can make.

At ONEOK, service is one of our core values. Service is more than corporate responsibility; it’s about investing our time, effort and resources to serve each other, our customers and our communities. I am proud of our ONEOK employees who volunteered more than 13,000 hours and spearheaded an incredible fundraiser for TAUW last year.

As we take time to celebrate our freedom on this Independence Day, let’s also celebrate the generous spirit of our community and pause to think of ways we can help others.

If 100 starts with ONE, we must also remember that “alone” ends with “one.” How can we help others so that everyone can get the help they need when they need it? By serving others through giving a portion of our resources and volunteering our time, we can make sure that no one person feels alone in their struggles and has access to the services they need.

Imagine those who would be alone without the services provided by the nonprofits supported by the TAUW.

Let’s continue working together to build a stronger, more compassionate city, state and country. Service above self is what sets us apart, and giving is an American tradition that brings us together.