The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 21, 2013

Janet Napolitano to speak at tornado anniversary ceremony

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, will be in Joplin Wednesday to speak at a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the Joplin tornado. The theme of the anniversary celebration at Cunningham Park is "Resilience, Resolve and Realization." It will start at 4:40 p.m. and a moment of silence will be observed at 5:41 p.m.

Napolitano will present the Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience to Jane Cage, chairman of the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team, and to all residents of Joplin.

Napolitano will then visit Oklahoma, where she will meet with local and state officials to ensure that first responders are receiving the federal assistance they need following tornadoes that hit Moore, Okla., and other communities recently.

The Rescorla Award is given for outstanding response and recovery from a disaster or incident or in disaster preparedness. It was named after a former vice president of security for Morgan Stanley's headquarters in the World Trade Center who regularly drilled employees on disaster preparedness and response. Rescorla is credited with organizing and directing the evacuation of nearly 2,700 Morgan Stanley employees in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He died after reentering the building to search for other survivors.

Matt Erskine, deputy assistant secretary for economic development with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, also will speak, according to John Atwood, the department's press spokesman. Atwood would not say whether Erskine will address a grant award for Joplin.

Joplin has applied for a $20 million grant through the Economic Development Administration intended to be used toward the construction of a new Joplin Public Library that is part of the city's redevelopment. Redevelopment projects are being led by the Texas firm of Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners, which has planned to couple the new library with a new movie theater and a mixed-use retail development with a national-chain grocery store on 20th Street between Connecticut Avenue and Carolyn Place.

"This anniversary event will acknowledge the work and the essence of Joplin and Duquesne citizens who have been through so much these past two years, but continue to move forward," City Manager Mark Rohr said in a statement last week. "As part of the program, there will be special announcements for our community and we encourage as many people who can come, to please join us that afternoon."