The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 6, 2013

Drury students to document stories of the Joplin tornado

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — Stories about the experience of Joplin residents in the 2011 tornado will be gathered during the city’s second anniversary observance to be held later this month at Cunningham Park.

A healing garden and educational space for tornado experiences will be set up in the northeast corner of the park at the May 22 anniversary.

People are being asked to take their stories that day to a tent where students and professors from Drury University will collect them. The students will have equipment on hand to record the stories by those who wish to tell how they were affected or to recount acts of heroism or courage displayed in the aftermath of the storm.

Stories also will be sought about the collaboration and work that went into coping with the devastation and doing cleanup and recovery work.

People who do not want to tell the stories for recording at the event may submit them on compact discs or other media.

“We want the citizens to share their stories and not have the process hinder them,” said Traci Sooter, director of Design/Build at Drury, in a statement. “They can come and orally tell us their story, or they can bring it written or saved on a flash drive. We will have several technologies available that we can download written documents, scan photographs, record a personal story, or photograph various elements. By having these different methods available, we hope to capture as many stories as we can that day.”

In addition to gathering information at the second anniversary event in Cunningham Park, Drury University students will accept stories via email at

“We are in the initial phase of the creative process,” Sooter said in the statement. “The planning work has been completed, now we want the public to participate in this stage to make the garden area a beautiful and telling place about Joplin and the Miracle of the Human Spirit.”

More information about the project will be available at the May 22 event.