The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 27, 2012

Joplin preparing to mark May 22 storm anniversary

By Kelsey Ryan

JOPLIN, Mo. — A variety of events — ranging from a half-marathon to a presidential address at Joplin High School’s commencement — are being planned for the May 22 anniversary of the 2011 Joplin tornado. Here are a few that have been announced:

• The Joplin Memorial Run, which will consist of a half-marathon, five-kilometer run and kids’ run, is scheduled for Saturday, May 19.

The half-marathon starts at 6:30 a.m., the 5K starts at 6:40 a.m. and the kids’ run starts at 6:50 a.m. on Joplin Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets next to the Memorial Hall parking lot. Those interested in participating may register at Deadline for online registration is May 16. The cost for the half-marathon is $60 and the cost for the 5K is $25. There is no fee for the kids’ run.

• An interfaith service that will focus on “Remembrance, Recovery and Responsibility” will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, at the Landreth Park amphitheater. The service will include readings, prayers, meditations and music from different faiths in the community. In the event of inclement weather, the service will be conducted at United Hebrew Congregation, 702 S. Sergeant Ave. Information: South Joplin Christian Church, 417-624-2522.

• The Joplin High School commencement is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, May 21, at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center at Missouri Southern State University. President Barack Obama and Gov. Jay Nixon will speak at the graduation ceremonies.

Each graduating senior will receive eight tickets. District officials have not yet determined how many seats will be available to the public. Taylor Auditorium is being reserved for overflow room, where residents will be able to watch a live feed.

• The city of Joplin is putting on a 3.7-mile Walk of Unity through the path of the tornado on the anniversary of the storm. The walk will begin at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, at the 15th Street Wal-Mart parking lot and head west toward Cunningham Park.

Stops along the route include 22nd Street and Indiana Avenue, where participants may watch as a new steeple is placed on the new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They will also stop at the high school across the street for a ceremonial groundbreaking. Another stop will be at the former site of Irving Elementary on West 26th Street for children’s activities.

A ceremony will start at 5:15 p.m. at Cunningham Park and a moment of silence is planned at 5:41 p.m. at the park. The last of 161 trees will be planted in the park in memory of those who died in the storm.

• School district officials have not ironed out details, but are planning a ceremony where Mercy Health System will present the deed for the new Irving Elementary site on the morning of May 22. A ceremonial groundbreaking will be held in the late morning or early afternoon at the East Middle School campus. The high school groundbreaking will be held in the afternoon as part of the Walk of Unity.