The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

November 16, 2012

Joplin officer aids recovery efforts on East Coast

A Joplin police officer who weathered the May 22, 2011, tornado is among thousands of volunteers bolstering recovery efforts on the East Coast following Hurricane Sandy.

Cpl. Chuck Niess, a public information officer with the Joplin Police Department, made the trek as a member of the Southwest Missouri Incident Support Team and has been working at the Emergency Operations Center for Nassau County on Long Island, N.Y., since the team arrived by motor vehicles Nov. 9.

The center is located on the ground floor of a three-story building in Bethpage, N.Y. The volunteers have been sleeping on cots in vacant offices on the second and third floors of the building between work shifts.

Niess sees some of the same disaster-recovery problems there that emergency workers faced in the wake of the tornado that ravaged Joplin.

“When we first got here, there were 800 in the shelter,” Niess said in a telephone interview Friday. “It was down to 318 this morning. The problem is: There’s just no vacant housing around here.”

You have to drive an hour or more inland to have any chance of finding a hotel or motel with rooms available, he said.

The authority that provides power in the area had managed to get 99 percent of its customers back on line by Thursday, he said. But there are about 1,800 homes in the area where he is working that were so badly damaged they remain without power.

Niess said the devastation is comparable to what Joplin experienced, with about 10,000 structures damaged or destroyed in Nassau County. He said many near the shore were simply obliterated. As you move inland, you find homes and buildings with gradually less wind and flood damage.

He said a logistical problem volunteers were trying to solve Friday, with the help of the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, was location of a warehouse to store donations that are pouring in from other parts of the country.

Niess, a 23-year veteran of the Joplin police force, lost his home in the tornado that struck Joplin but still played a part in the public service effort that kept the city functioning in the aftermath of the disaster.

“We’re committed to 14 days here,” he said. “We’ll have to see how things are going next week. But we’re committed until after Thanksgiving at least.”


Cpl. Chuck Niess joined the Southwest Missouri Incident Support Team three months ago, and this is his first deployment.

Text Only
Local News
  • 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

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: It’s not Mayberry, but Carthage is close

    When I was a kid, I wanted to live in Mayberry. In a way, I suppose I still want to live in Mayberry, the fictional town featured in the classic Andy Griffith show of the 1960s.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

  • Joplin couple indicted in child porn case

    A federal grand jury indicted a Joplin couple Wednesday for alleged sexual exploitation of a second child in addition to a girl who was the subject of a preceding indictment of the husband for allegedly producing and distributing child pornography.

    July 23, 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

  • Missouri attorney general defends his support of Amendment 1

    With a large cornfield behind him and campaign signs all around, Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster appeared Wednesday at the David Collard farm to tout Amendment 1, an Aug. 5 ballot measure that would make the “right to farm” part of the state constitution.

    July 23, 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

  • 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

  • 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

Must Read


Have you ever served as a volunteer for your state's conservation department?

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