Return from Joplin, Missouri, Tornado

Those that read my last post know that I was bound for Joplin to help those in need from damage from the tornado.  I have returned with a very different perspective on what is important in life.  Everything can be taken away in just a mater of a couple minutes.  It’s hard to imagine how anyone can recover from such emotional trauma in their lives.  The emotional and topographical scars from this tragedy will linger in this on for many many years to come.

On May 22nd, one of the single most destructive tornadoes tore through Joplin, Missouri.  This massive tornado destroyed everything in its path.  Nothing was left untouched.  The following picture is just a small snapshot of a path one mile wide and two miles long.  After home owners are done with finding anything they want to keep the dozers come in a push everything out to the curb for the trucks to haul away to the landfill.  Eventually all that will be left in this zone will be the streets.  Many people that have been affected will be taking whatever money they can get from insurance and buying another house.  The overall attitude of this area is one of hope and positive recovery attitude.

This is the now famous St. John’s Mercy Hospital.  The destructive power of the tornado blew out the windows of this building and generated enough lift on the building to twist the building four inches off the foundation.  The incredible power of this tornado was unbelievable.  You can see in the foreground what happened to many cars that were around or near the hospital.

This is a hospital truck the was probably down by the hospital was rolled up the hill and hurled against this tree with such force that it wrapped the frame around the tree.  It looks to be an average 26 foot straight truck with a steel frame.

This is a backside shot of the same truck picture above.  That had to be one tough tree to stand strong against a tremendous hit like that.

This is the backside of the first house we worked on. We helped with carrying appliances, hazardous material, brush, and metal to the curb.  The two team members are standing by the front door.  The family in this house took shelter from the storm to the left of the front door in a hallway and watched the whole dining room/kitchen section as well as the entire roof get torn off and blown away.  No one in the family was harmed.

Our next project was to help this home owner cut down four trees and saw them into chunks to save the him hundreds of dollars. We also hauled some appliances from the kitchen in back of the house to the curb to be hauled away.  The dead line for the FEMA help for such things was two days away.

The third place we helped was to unload a moving truck for  lady that was moving into a house.  Her house had been destroyed and she needed help to unload a truck into her new place to live.  She was an older lady and had heart wrenching stories about all the collectibles she had lost in the tornado.

I returned home very thankful for my humble home and all the simple things that make it a liveable place.

I hope and pray that your weekend was tornado, fire and flood free.

Published on Jun 13, 2011

Grit Magazine

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