The rebuilt Joplin Elks Lodge 501 will officially reopen on Saturday nearly 20 months after it was destroyed in the May 2011 tornado.
While members of the lodge are happy to be back “home,” it’s not without the reminder of those who won’t be with them.
During ceremonies Saturday we will remember Clyde Coleman of Galena, Kan., James “David” Kendrick and Johnnie Ray Richey, both of Joplin, and Shelly Ramsey, of Neosho, who was tending bar the night the tornado hit. All were killed when the lodge took a direct hit.
As well, some 100 of the lodge’s 600 members sustained losses of homes or property.
There will be no celebrating the new without some sadness at remembering the past.
The new $2.7 million, 19,000-square-foot building will include the names of the four victims to make sure their lives are remembered.
As we have with each reopening — whether it was Home Depot, Peace Lutheran Church or Casa Montez — we at the Globe say well done to those who put their lives back together, raised funds, worked hard and have come back strong.
The Joplin Elks’ charter dates back to 1899. The organization is an important part of Joplin’s history. More important, it will continue to be a part of our future.
Please join us in commending lodge members for their resiliency in the face of disaster.