The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 30, 2013

Joplin family moves into home provided by local charity

JOPLIN, Mo. — Maria Socorro Rodriguez credits her “guardian angels” for the opportunity to have a home again.

Rodriguez and her three daughters — Barbara, 18; Karina, 17; and Gabby, 12 — survived the 2011 tornado in a closet at their home at 2320 S. Kentucky Ave.

On Wednesday, they were able to move back into a home rebuilt for them by donations from St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the St. Vincent de Paul Society, working with Springfield-based Convoy of Hope.

“We’re so excited,” said Karina, a junior at Joplin High School, of their new house.

The mother, who speaks little English, said through her daughters as interpreters that she is grateful to John and Mary Olson of the St. Vincent de Paul Society for the help the family received. She described the Olsons as her “guardian angels,” and said she also is grateful to God and to the construction workers and volunteers who helped build the new home at the site of the destroyed residence.

Rodriguez worked at El Vaquero Restaurant, 2412 S. Main St., before the tornado. She had come home from work only minutes before the tornado hit on that Sunday, May 22, in 2011.

“We were all cleaning up (the house), and my sister Barbara went out to get the cat” when the tornado sirens blared the warning, Karina said. They piled into a closet that was in the middle of the house. After the ferocious storm, they climbed out of the closet and saw devastation all around them. That closet and one tilting wall of a bedroom were all that remained of their house. “If we had been in another room, we wouldn’t be here now,” Karina said.

They picked through the rubble and found a few items they could salvage. Then they walked down the block to a porch that was still standing and huddled beneath it to get out of the rain.

They finally decided to try to find the Olsons, who live a few blocks away and are involved in the St. Vincent de Paul Society, an international Catholic charitable organization.

Olson said he and his wife knew the Rodriguez family before the tornado. “After the tornado, they came walking up the street with a stock pot and a bag, and that’s all they had left,” he said.

The Olsons took the mother and her girls to stay with the girls’ father temporarily. The St. Vincent society then helped the Rodriguez family move to a rental in a mobile home park. The mother was able to get a job at Maria’s restaurant; El Vaquero also was destroyed by the tornado.

Olson said contributors from 28 states sent donations amounting to about $175,000 to the local St. Vincent de Paul Society. That money allowed the society to help 600 tornado-stricken residents such as the Rodriguez family.

The organization, along with St. Mary’s Catholic Church, funded the rebuilding of the Rodriguez house through Convoy of Hope. It is the seventh house that Convoy of Hope has constructed for Joplin tornado survivors.

Stacy Lamb of Convoy of Hope said the house was constructed to keep costs low for the family. Lamb said insulated concrete forms, manufactured by TF Concrete Forming Systems, were used to build the house, “so it will be energy-efficient and storm-resistant. Their utility bills will be considerably less just because of the construction of the home.”

Olson said the Rodriguez family is one that is easy to help.

“They have been a wonderful family,” he said. “They don’t ask for anything. When we find something (they need), we just get in there and see what we can do for them.”

The St. Vincent de Paul Society was located next to St. Mary’s Catholic Church and school before the tornado, and all were destroyed. The society, which provides assistance with rent, utilities and transportation to people in need, is now located at 512 E. 32nd St.

The church, the school and the St. Vincent’s office will have new buildings on a 47-acre tract next to Wildwood Acres in west Joplin.


OTHER PARTICIPANTS in the Joplin rebuilding effort with Convoy of Hope and TF Concrete Forming Systems are Adam Brady Construction, Alpha Title LLC, Project Safe Home and Joyce Meyer Ministries-Hand of Hope.

Text Only
Local News
  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Parents can get help with school supplies

    I don’t know much about demographics other than the fact that I no longer belong to a “targeted demographic.” When I was younger, I was bombarded by commercials and ads from companies that were trying to sell me things that I not only needed but wanted.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jasper County Commission reviews traffic plans

    The Jasper County Commission will hold public hearings today and Thursday on a number of traffic changes proposed in the county. No one spoke when the first hearing was held Tuesday as part of the regular commission meeting, according to Jim Honey, Eastern District associate commissioner.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

Must Read


A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter