The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Tornado: Columns

July 28, 2011

Carol Stark: We’ll take all the miracles we can get

— Do you believe in miracles? Before you answer, let me rephrase that. Do you believe in karma, fate, divine intervention or Lady Luck?

We each have our own way of putting our heads around events that defy the odds. Call them whatever you want, but the accounts of many of the survivors of the May 22 tornado are nothing but downright miraculous. These stories have left us all humbled and still, two months after the tornado, asking: “How did that happen?”

It was the premise we started with for today’s collection of stories — “22 Miracles in May” — that begins on Page 1 of our paper.

When I told reporter Emily Younker what I wanted to do, she didn’t bat an eye. We already had reported the stories of Lavern the cat that was buried for 16 days, and the remarkable transformation of the late Ed Ash’s rain-soaked, moldy Bible. We counted both of them as inspirations.

We had talked to a 90-year-old woman who has survived not one, but two EF-5 tornadoes. We had met the young girl who was impaled by a piece of angle iron that had pierced the roof of the truck, entered her shoulder, exited out her flank and entered the truck seat. Six weeks later, she was well enough to go swimming.

Impossible? No, true.

For two months, survivors have been bringing us their stories. Many we have published, but some we’ve saved for today’s special report.

One such story came from Steve Goebel, a regular Globe letter writer, who found himself buried alive under the debris.

“I knew I wouldn’t live long under that weight,” he said. “Everyone was going to be checked after because they’re going to look at their own houses first, and you looked at mine and there was nothing left of it. You look at it and you wouldn’t believe that a person could live there, and people are going to look for the living first and look for the dead later. I knew very likely I’d die there before anybody would come.”

But, he didn’t. And, I look forward to getting letters from Steve for many years to come.

Some of today’s miracles are testaments to the human spirit. You’ll read about doctors who were miracle-makers themselves that night.

You’ll cry at the happy endings. I certainly did when I read about Pete Anastosopolos and his agonizing search for his 12-year-old daughter, Zoe.

There are stories about people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but somehow managed to live. Ashley Monroe is one of those miracles. She rode out the storm on the Wal-Mart parking lot in a Volkswagen Jetta.

It sounds almost like a movie script, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why they call it human drama.

Today we bring you 22 stories — 22 miracles if you will — about your friends and neighbors. Please know that there are hundreds more stories out there just as incredible.

Just as we mourned with you the loss of life, today, we celebrate the lives of those who are still with us.

And, we’ll take all the miracles we can get.  

Carol Stark is editor of The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to her, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or e-mail cstark@joplinglobe.com.

1
Text Only
Tornado: Columns
  • Premier Turbines plant in Neosho to close, 80 jobs lost

    Premier Turbines will close its Neosho plant some time in early 2015.
    Chris Pratt, director of communications for Dallas Airmotive, which has owned the plant since 2003, said 80 jobs will be cut.

    June 26, 2014

  • Susan Redden: McCaskill praises Joplin cooperation

    At least two things she saw in Joplin need to be replicated in Washington, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said during a visit last week.
    A strong spirit of cooperation is driving Joplin’s rebuilding, she said. And,  the senator said there is a realization “that federal programs have a place.”

    August 28, 2011

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

    Monday marks 100 days since the worst tornado in our country in the past 70 years tore through our community, leaving lost lives and destroyed property in its wake. As I have said before, that fateful day in late May will be the defining moment in all of our lives whether we want it to be or not.

    August 28, 2011

  • Ron Richard, guest columnist: Partnership can spur recovery

    The tornado that ravaged Joplin and the flooding affecting Missouri River towns and businesses are both human and economic tragedies.

    August 28, 2011

  • Wally Kennedy: Flocks expected for Chick-fil-A opening

    The stocking of the Chick-fil-A restaurant at 2127 S. Range Line Road is under way in preparation for a grand reopening on Thursday. The restaurant was among 25 or so eateries on Main Street and Range Line Road that were destroyed by the May 22 tornado.

    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

  • Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Safe room will always be reminder of May 22

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

    August 14, 2011