JOPLIN, Mo. —
When I was a little girl visiting the Joliet (Ill.) Public Library, it was always a treat when my folks would check out children's records for me to listen to. I remember sitting in front of the family's hi-fi stereo listening to those records. It was in front of that stereo that I was introduced to the humor of Bill Cosby. We would sit and roar with laughter at his monologues -- especially the one about Noah and the ark. Those records plus recordings of fairy tales were my favorites.
The days of checking LPs out from public libraries have come and gone. The media of today's libraries include CDs and DVDs. Joplin Public Library carries a large collection of movies and music for the entire family.
The library recently added a DVD to its collection titled "Steadfast: The Documentary." It was written and produced by area resident Gregory Fish (disclaimer: he is my nephew). Greg spent many of his growing-up years in Joplin, attending College Heights Schools and eventually graduating from Ozark Christian College.
He is a freelance videographer, usually producing video illustrations, motion loops and countdown timers for churches to use in their services. In addition to this, Greg is editor in chief of Christian Video Magazine and director of marketing for Motive Matters.
"Steadfast" represents his first venture into full-length films. After the events of May 22, 2011, Greg found himself doing photography and tribute videos that were being passed around on Facebook. He wanted to allow the people of Joplin to tell their own enduring stories -- stories that would continue to be told even after national media moved on. These video clips gave birth to the idea of a full-length film.
In Greg's words, "Steadfast" is a "heartfelt tribute to Joplin residents who showed tremendous resilience and fortitude in the midst of the horrendous circumstances surrounding the May 22, 2011, tornado. It also chronicles the rebuilding that is taking place, thanks to heroic volunteers and other entities. ÔSteadfast' is an inspiring story in the midst of tragedy and devastation."
Stories include those of the emergency management director, emergency medical technicians, a volunteer police chaplain and a church outreach coordinator as well as several survivor stories. It captures the strength and resolve shown by this community. While other writings and films about the tornado focus on events, this film focuses on people.
Half of the proceeds from Fish's "Steadfast" will benefit Rebuild Joplin.
Joplin Public Library has "Steadfast" available for checkout. Along with this film, JPL has many books and DVDs about the tornado. They include three other documentaries, "Joplin, Missouri: A Tornado Story," "Deadline in Disaster: A Film Documentary" and "Storm Chasing the Joplin EF-5 Tornado."
Books JPL has about the tornado include Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr's book, "Joplin: The Miracle of the Human Spirit," local teacher Randy Turner's book "Spirit of Hope: The Year After the Joplin Tornado," "5/22: Stories of Survival, Stories of Faith," as well as the pictorial works "Joplin 5:41" and "32 Minutes in May: The Joplin Tornado."
These titles are all available for checkout from Joplin Public Library. Check them out and see what other instructional DVDs, documentaries, or feature films are also available at the library.
Jacque Gage is director of the Joplin Public Library.