JOPLIN, Mo. —
As a former NFL linebacker, Dhani Jones is used to tackling big problems on the field, but Jones found himself in Joplin on Saturday displaying a different set of moves as he showed residents how to perfect the art of “rockin’ a bow tie.”
Jones joined members of Rebuild Joplin and the Spiva Center for the Arts to unveil a Joplin-themed tie that will raise money for both organizations.
Through 12 years with his BowTie Cause Foundation, Jones has helped raise awareness and money for different charities and groups across the country, including the American Diabetes Association and the Armed Forces Foundation.
“Wearing a bow tie is a classy statement and more importantly, it says something about you. If you want to be someone, you have to rock the bow tie,” Jones said. “Each of the ties facilitate a conversation and in this case, we are telling the story of how Joplin is rebuilding. It’s up to everyone who wears this tie to tell that story.”
Jones acknowledged he had not heard of Joplin before May 22, 2011, but after a chance meeting with former resident Brent Beshore last September during a mountain climbing expedition in Utah, Jones became interested in what he could do to help the city.
“I asked him point-blank if he had ever done a tie specifically for a city,” Beshore said Saturday. “He said, ‘No,’ so we got it rolling from there.”
A silk tie designed by Joplin resident Margie Moss was selected earlier this year from more than 200 entries, each of which was accompanied by a story that told of rebuilding efforts in post-tornado Joplin. Her winning design is set on a blue background and it features nails, hammers, butterflies and the word “Hope.”
Moss said Saturday her inspiration for the tie came from helping local residents decorate their new houses after the tornado.
“I kept replaying their stories in my mind when I designed it, and I thought of all of the good that has come out afterward,” Moss said. “You see Joplin now and you see a lot of hope. We are stronger now.”
Rebuild Joplin Director Jerrod Hogan said the Joplin bow tie represents more than just a piece of clothing to wear.
“We’re not just rebuilding homes that were destroyed in the tornado,” Hogan said. “We have to support the community through art and culture and rebuild those at the same time. There are still 100 families who are not back where they need to be, and we are helping them today through this effort.
“There are people like Dhani who are still helping us two years later,” Hogan said. “He’s another great person in a long line of amazing stories to come out of something so terrible.”
Want to help?
The Joplin-themed bow time can be purchased at www.bowtiecause.org or with an order form at Spiva Center for the Arts for $57.