The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Tornado: Columns

July 17, 2011

Steve Lea, guest columnist: Message on window speaks volumes

On May 24 my daughter felt the strong need to leave her home in a small community near Durango, Colo., to return to her hometown of Joplin after the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin on May 22, destroying a large part of our town.

When Jessica and my granddaughter left, my daughter wrote “Joplin, Mo.” on the rear window of her vehicle. Durango to Joplin is about 980 miles. That’s far enough that they spent the night at Tucumcari, N.M.

When she stopped at the motel, a man approached her and asked if she was from Joplin. She told him it was her hometown and she was going there to help. They parted their ways and Jessica went to her room. A short time later, the front office called her and told her she had a package. The front desk brought the package to her room. Upon opening the package, she found a note saying “call me so I know you received this.” In the package was check for $200 for her travel to Joplin. Jessica called the number and found out it was the man she had met. The man’s name is Jeremy R. Sanchez. He is a firefighter in the town of Monrovia, Calif.

Jeremy was on his way home from a trip somewhere east of Joplin. Since he was so close to Joplin, he took a detour through the town to see just how badly Joplin was damaged. Jeremy was so moved by the destruction, that he felt the need to help. Some interesting facts for me: his name is Jeremy, the same as my son. He is a firefighter and I am a retired battalion fire chief.

While Jessica was talking to Jeremy, he told her he was going to see if his firefighter association would make a sizable donation to the firefighters in Joplin for relief.

He also talked to neighboring fire departments in his area for their support. The total donations added up to $3,200.

I wanted to make the public aware of this selfless donation.

Steve Lea is a former Joplin Fire Department battalion chief. He presented the checks to Joplin fire Capt. Kevin Theilen.

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Tornado: Columns
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  • Mark Rohr, guest columnist: Miracle of the human spirit ever-pervasive since tornado

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  • Ron Richard, guest columnist: Partnership can spur recovery

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    August 27, 2011

  • Susan Redden: State officials argue about disaster money

    Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is under fire from two different fronts, both relating to plans for a special legislative session in which the Joplin tornado and its economic impact will most certainly be a topic.

    August 21, 2011

  • Wally Kennedy: Walgreen’s to reopen both stores Monday

    Monday will be a big day for two of the three stores that Walgreen’s operates in Joplin. The Walgreen’s at 20th and Main streets sustained significant damage on May 22. It was at the north edge of the tornado’s damage zone. It has had a major makeover.

    August 20, 2011

  • Aspen Bowman Roger Nomer: Image a ‘revelation’ for photographer

    The sky looked dark, but nothing more unusual than a typical springtime storm.
    I was on duty May 22 at the Globe, and had just finished taking photos of Joplin High School’s graduation when the storm sirens started to sound at Missouri Southern State University.

     

    August 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Jo Ellis: Small deeds will make a big impact

    A big, big thanks to all who have called, emailed or written to me saying they want to participate in Nature-Joplin (Nurture a Tree-Urban Reforestation Effort-Joplin) to help Joplin recover from the May 22 tornado that scoured the landscape.

    August 14, 2011

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    The afternoon of May 22, I emailed a story to my editor from my home office just before the tornado sirens sounded in Pittsburg.

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