The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Tornado: Columns

July 30, 2011

Wally Kennedy: IHOP may offer lesson in survival

JOPLIN, Mo. — The story of what happened at the IHOP restaurant at 2117 S. Range Line Road the night of the tornado has been told several times.

Close to 40 people rode out the storm in the restaurant’s kitchen and freezer. Among them was Peg Nichols, Olathe, Kan., who was there with a group of nine people to celebrate her granddaughter’s graduation.

Nichols recalls hunkering down under a stainless steel preparation table in the kitchen.

“There were two or three layers of us. It was all of us together,’’ she said. “It seemed to take forever, hearing things breaking and being torn apart.’’

People who sought shelter in the kitchen survived. That got Nichols to thinking: Why did the IHOP hold up as well as it did while other buildings around it were decimated?

“I think the design of the building and the quality of the construction is what saved us,’’ she said. “It had short interior walls and corner bracing.

“The newer IHOPs where I live do not have that design. The dining area is more open. I hope that if they do rebuild, it will be in the old design,’’ she said.

Nichols has gone so far as to contact corporate management of IHOP to make sure they understand how well the Range Line IHOP weathered the storm.

On Thursday, I called the corporate office to find out what IHOP is planning to do with its Range Line property. A spokeswoman said, “We are definitely coming back. We will be reopening in nine months.’’

Then I told her about Nichols’ observation about the design of the building and how she wanted that message conveyed to upper management. The woman said: “I am typing an email as we speak.’’

It was refreshing to see someone make an effort and take the time to get a message up the ladder on behalf of a loyal customer. Well done, IHOP.

It’s also refreshing to see a perceptive customer insist that her voice be heard.

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Tornado: Columns
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    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.
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    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

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    August 28, 2011

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

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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

  • 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