{News director Ed Button at Missourinet West Plains affiliate KWPM Radio contributed to this story}

Volunteers and first responders in flooded West Plains are being praised by Governor Eric Greitens (R), who traveled to the southern Missouri community on Thursday.

Gov. Eric Greitens (left) speaks in West Plains on May 4, 2017. Seated at right is West Plains street supervisor Brian Mitchell (Photo courtesy of Missourinet West Plains affiliate KWPM Radio}

“And first I just want to praise the courage of our first responders, police, fire, Missouri State Highway Patrol and National Guard who are out who are saving lives here,” Greitens tells Missourinet West Plains affiliate KWPM Radio.

Greitens tells KWPM that while he’s confident about a federal disaster declaration, officials are still compiling information.

A federal disaster declaration is a process, one that can take months.

The governor describes West Plains as a “blueprint” for disaster management.

“The leadership that you see in communities like this, the leadership from the faith community, the leadership from the mayor and others is really inspiring,” says Greitens. “And what you see here is a community that’s had to deal with a tremendous amount of hardship, but is going to emerge stronger from it.”

Greitens spoke at the First Baptist Church, which has been established by the Red Cross as a temporary shelter.

He says the town has come together in the storm “to take care of each other.”

Greitens declared a state of emergency across Missouri last Friday, in anticipation of the flooding and heavy rainfall.