The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 6, 2012

Joplin makes Time magazine's 'Top 10 comebacks' list

By Debby Woodin
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin’s recovery so far from the 2011 tornado has earned it a ranking on Time magazine’s “Top 10 Comebacks” list.

The effort to resurrect from an EF-5 monster storm that took 161 lives and damaged or destroyed 7,500 structures is noted as the No. 4 comeback of the year on one of the magazine’s 55 lists that are headlined “Top 10 of Everything of 2012.”

Joplin’s recovery fell under the list for “pop culture.” The No. 1 comeback on that list was the re-election of President Barack Obama, who took almost all the swing states despite criticism over economic issues and debate over his ability to fulfill his promises from the last election.

Joplin came after the coup of “Good Morning America” in snatching morning-show ratings away from NBC’s “Today” show, the mainstay in ratings for 17 years. Next on the list was the effort of the San Francisco Giants in coming back from trailing the St. Louis Cardinals three games to one in the National League championship series and then went on to sweep Detroit in the World Series.

“Overall, it’s fantastic we’re listed at No. 4,” said Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean. “It continues showing that Joplin is a community that is a beacon. Our people pull together when it’s needed, and it just shows everyone has the mindset to get Joplin back together.

“But it is a high honor to even be mentioned in Time magazine. I’m proud of our city. I’m proud our residents.”

 C.J. Huff, superintendent of the Joplin School District, said of the ranking, “It just goes to show what an inspiration Joplin has been to the rest of the country and what can happen when a community comes together to do the right things for the right reasons. People haven't forgotten.”

Related to the recovery, City Manager Mark Rohr will be honored at a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. today at City Hall for his selection as a “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine. He was recognized for his leadership in the tornado recovery.

The award was presented Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C. The magazine has recognized public officials for their work since 1994. Nominations are made by the public and public officials. The magazine receives several hundred nominations each year and usually selects eight to 10 to recognize. This year there were seven honorees.

In accepting the award, Rohr said, “I am honored by this award, but the story of Joplin’s recovery is not the work of any one person, but rather the collective efforts of a host of people who did what they needed to do when faced with this terrible tragedy.”

Rohr said last month he accepted the award on behalf of the residents of Joplin and the 154,000 registered volunteers who have turned out to help Joplin.

Others on list

Time magazine also listed the rebirth of “boy bands,” the Lauren Scruggs recovery from an airplane-propeller accident with an airplane propeller, the success of the James Bond movie “Skyfall” and the Summer Olympics becoming the most-watched televised event in history as other great comebacks.