The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 25, 2012

Freeman Health System honors Missouri governor

JOPLIN, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon accepted the title of Freeman Fellow on Thursday, in honor of his work on behalf of Freeman Health System and the Joplin area in the wake of the May 22, 2011, tornado.

The governor was made the seventh Freeman Fellow, the health system’s highest honor, in ceremonies led by Paula Baker, Freeman president and CEO, and attended by physicians and other staff members.

Baker said Nixon’s frequent trips to the hospital and other Joplin sites since the tornado have been a reminder that the state will not forget about Joplin and the challenges ahead.

“You have provided support and resources and — most importantly — hope that our community will rise up once again,” she said.

She and Nixon unveiled a Freeman Fellow display in the Freeman Hospital West lobby.

In accepting the honor, Nixon praised the staff of Freeman for helping people in the Joplin area in the aftermath of the tornado and throughout the health system’s tenure in Joplin.

“Many lives were lost in the tornado. Many thousands were injured,” he said. “But many more were healed because of the truly heroic work done by the people in this room. Because of your skill and resilience, your courage and compassion, the story of the Joplin tornado is not only a story of terrible calamity and suffering, but also a story of hope.”

Nixon’s assistance to Freeman, Baker noted, included securing $2 million in state funds to help Freeman and Ozark Center establish Will’s Place, a healing center for children struggling with trauma, and supporting passage of legislation that requires insurance coverage for families using sites such as Ozark Center’s Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism.

She said other help from the state, under Nixon’s leadership, included establishing a one-stop center where residents could get state help after the tornado, securing nearly $100 million from the Missouri Housing Development Commission for housing construction, ensuring that debris removal costs were largely paid by state and federal funds, and initiatives that helped rebuild playgrounds and build new Habitat for Humanity houses.

Baker said Nixon, in the 90-year history of the hospital, becomes the seventh person to receive the hospital’s highest honor. Two other honorees, former state Sen. Gary Nodler and Leland Browne Jr., former chairman of the Freeman board of directors, were on hand for the ceremony.

Other Freeman Fellow honorees are former state Sen. Richard Webster, former U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, J.T. Jones and Myron McIntosh.


GOV. JAY NIXON, who has made frequent trips to Joplin in the wake of the 2011 tornado, said the most lasting impressions of the storm have been “its scope and strength, which was stunning, and the strength and resilience of the people here, which has been inspirational.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read


Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter