Six Miles of Terror! That was the headline of the Joplin Globe a week after the infamous tornado twisted and ripped through Joplin on May 22, 2011.
On May 28th my husband Marshall and I arrived in Neosho, Missouri which is a 15-minute drive from Joplin. It was a trip that was already planned to check on my 93-year-old dad. Naturally, people were reeling from the Joplin disaster and needed to talk.
We heard sad stories such as the young man who was sucked up through the Hummer moon roof by the tornado a few hours after graduating from high school. His body was found a few days later. Children were pulled from their parent’s arms. A store manager was killed saving the lives of his employees. The stories of tragedy go on and on.
As always, our countrymen rose to the occasion. More than 2,500 registered volunteers began working in the field amidst all the rubble that looked like a war-torn battlefield. They worked among piles of sticks, shattered glass, mangled cars and other debris strewn about where 6,000 homes and 300 businesses once stood.
The donations of money, water and other necessities started pouring in. Dillon’s grocery store chain donated $250,000 to Ozark Food Harvest and a dollar for dollar matching contribution to American Red Cross’ tornado relief efforts.
The church my Dad attends has a congregation of about 350 people. The Sunday after the tornado they took up a collection for Joplin that totaled more than $48,000.
Generosity was everywhere. Is there any other country as generous as the United States? I doubt it. We help each other out regardless of where the catastrophic incident occurs.
This is a time to reflect on the good in our country; how giving we can be. Too often the media inundates us with the bad events happening. There are a lot of great events happening that never get told.
It is also the time to be appreciative of what we have. When our day doesn’t go perfectly, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Shake it off, take the high road. Think about the people in Joplin who have nothing left. They search among the rubble hoping to find a few things that they can salvage.
A family that moved from Joplin after the storm in a house close to Dad’s said they went back looking for their cat. On the second try, the cat came crawling out from the debris.
Hurray, for our generous citizens, our freedom and the abundance of things we have.
You can donate to the Joplin Tornado First Response Fund by sending a check to: Community Foundation of the Ozarks, PO Box 8960, Springfield, MO 65801.