The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

August 13, 2013

Your View: Will never forget Joplin

AUSTIN, Texas — I am a service operations supervisor for Farmers Insurance from Austin, Texas. Recently, I was part of the Rebuild Joplin effort that will send over 100 Farmers employees to Joplin throughout this year to aid in the rebuilding effort.

This was an experience of a lifetime, and I really feel like a much better person after this endeavor. I am so happy that as a company we are part of this initiative. However, the most gratifying part of my experience was the Joplin residents I met during my two-week stay. I hope this letter will serve as a thank you to your community.

My fellow volunteers from Farmers, Mark Binder and Victoria Alsabery, all felt fortunate every time a Joplin resident approached us with a heartfelt thank you. And it was a common occurrence. The fact that your community would recognize the work that Farmers and other relief agencies were doing on the ground in Joplin was inspiring. Your community taught me much about the value of gratitude and appreciation. I hope I can incorporate that in my personal life, as well as remember the frozen custard at Andy's and playing foosball while waiting for our order at Instant Karma Gourmet Hot Dogs. I wish more cities would adopt the Third Thursday festival that Joplin offers. What a great way to see downtown and know you’re contributing to the local businesses and restaurants.

On one of my final days in Joplin, I was coming down to meet with the other Farmers volunteers when I had an interesting conversation with a woman who was in town on business. She indicated that she had seen our group always wearing blue paint-stained Farmers volunteer T-shirts. She was complimentary about how we’re helping to rebuild local homes for those who lost them in the tornado and sincerely thanked me for what I was doing. She indicated that she wished her employer would be more involved in the community and hoped that others will follow in our footsteps to enrich the lives of others.

I am happy that your community is receiving the help it needs to rebuild, and I will never forget the people in Joplin.

Jonathan Hays

Austin, Texas

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