Gov. Jay Nixon kicked off his State of the State Address by calling attention to the strength of Missourians amid adversity, namely acts of God.

“On Aug. 6th, in the dark of night, deadly flash flood struck several Missouri communities without warning,” Nixon began. “In Pulaski Co., creeks became ragin rivers, rising by as much as 23 feet — inundating homes, washing out roads and, ultimately, claiming lives.”

Nixon then recognized two local firefighters whose own lives were put in danger during the rescue of a man and a young child.

“Their boat capsized in the rushing water, leaving all of them clinging to a single guidewire,” Nixon said, naming Cpl. Lance DeClue and Lt. Justin McCullough of the Highway Patrol for coming to their aid.

Nixon said those acts of bravery symbolize what Missouri is all about, where “folks don’t shy away from challenges — they work together to tackle them.”

Nixon’s focus then turned to jobs and the economy.

He said Missouri’s unemployment rate has dropped from 8.6 percent to 6.1 percent since he took office in 2009, and that the state has added nearly 44,000 jobs in the past year.

Some of the successes Nixon pointed to include increasing agriculture exports, the expansion of such high-tech global brands as Monsanto, Expedia, Express Scripts and Cerner.

He also called attention to the growth of small businesses and startups including CoFactor Genomics and Brewer Science. And of course, the auto industry.

“Today, Missouri’s automotive3 comeback continues to make headlines,” he said. “On Sunday, GM unveiled the all-new Missouri-made GMC Canyon. On Monday, Ford unveiled the all-new Missouri-made F-150. Later that day, we welcomed a new automotive supplier — Janesville Acoustics — and over 150 jobs to Warrensburg.”

Thursday, Ford announced the hiring of the 1,000th worker to build the Ford Transit van, previously build overseas.

Nixon said the success has been built upon fiscal discipline and smart investments.

“Instead of engaging in Washing-style deficit spending, we kept our fiscal discipline — balancing budgets, cutting waste and keeping taxes low.”