The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

April 22, 2012

Chilly wind doesn’t deter Special Olympics athletes

JOPLIN, Mo. — More than 600 athletes braved a chilly and windy day Friday at Missouri Southern State University’s Fred Hughes Stadium to compete in the Special Olympics Southwest Area Spring Games.

Kelsi Valdez, 10, goes to school in Nevada. She had just received a gold medal for taking first place in her age group in the 100-meter run. She was preparing to compete next in the running long jump.

Kelsi said she had trained for the competition.

“I like running,” she said, adding that she was having fun.

Levi Logsdon, 12, from Carl Junction, demonstrated a practiced technique in the running long jump. But on one try, he fell forward, resulting in a bruised arm. He got up and took another turn.

He said he felt good about his jumps. He was asked if he practiced.

“Yeah, sometimes,” Levi said. He also was scheduled to compete in a running event and the shot put. He said he enjoyed being a part of the competition. “I’m excited,” he said.

Billy Sherrick and some friends were celebrating his successful performance in the softball throw. Sherrick, 16, is a Joplin High School student.

“I tossed them for a long time,” he said of his practice for the event.

He said he liked being among all the athletes. “It’s fun,” he said.

Sherrick said he also was entered to compete in the 50-meter run and the long jump. He was asked how he thought he might do.

“I don’t know, first place,” he said with confidence.

Maksim Barry, 14, from Diamond, said he was entered in a relay race, the 200-meter run, the long jump and the shot put. He said he was having a good time.

Organizer Robin Anderson said the spring games is the biggest athletic event in Southwest Missouri, in terms of competitors. The entries were from 37 schools and organizations.

“We’d love better weather,” she said, adding that everyone involved in the event always has a fun, exciting time.

A somber moment came during the opening ceremony, when Anderson announced that Don, Patty and Tripp Miller had been designated the Special Olympics Outstanding Family. Tripp Miller began competing in Special Olympics about 40 years ago, with his parents always around to cheer him on. Tripp Miller died in the Joplin tornado on May 22. His parents continue to be strong supporters of Special Olympics.

“Tripp was one of those who didn’t survive the tornado, but his smile and goodness did,” Anderson said, occasionally choking up. “We will forever remember this truly kind, good gentleman.”

Also recognized by Anderson were Jenny Dayton, Outstanding Athlete of the Year, and Charlie Aiken, Outstanding Volunteer.



State competition

THE STATE SPECIAL OLYMPICS competition will be at the Summer Games set for May 29-June 1 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
  • Local new-home construction catches up to previous pace

    After a slow start early in this fiscal year for Joplin, the construction of new houses has resumed at the pace that existed in fiscal year 2013, when permits for new houses averaged more than 16 per month. Since November, the beginning of Joplin’s fiscal year, permits for 118 houses have been issued for a total cost of $12.8 million. The average value has been about $108,000.

    June 11, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • 060314 Farmers rebuild 1_72.jpg Farmers Insurance writes manual based on experience from Joplin disaster recovery

    Joplin’s housing recovery from the 2011 tornado is one for the books. Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance, announced Tuesday that not only will Farmers Insurance stick with Rebuild Joplin to repair and replace the homes left on the local group’s waiting list, but the company also will kick off a similar recovery effort today for the city of Sea Bright, New Jersey, based on a book it has written to expedite disaster recovery that is based on its experience in Joplin.

    June 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • r052214butterflygarden.jpg New park feature opens on tornado anniversary to encourage healing

    Cunningham Park has become an emotional place for Pamela Praytor. The name of her son, Christopher Lucas, is engraved on a monument that stands in the park in memory of the 161 people who were killed in the May 2011 tornado. “Even though I cry when I come, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s part of the healing.”

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • r051214greenbldgs3.jpg Home, business cited as examples of energy efficiency, strength

    Ramona and Charles “Hugh’’ Shields were not the least bit reluctant on Monday to open their new house in the tornado zone to a bunch of strangers who had a lot of questions. “I used to live in a house where I had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter to keep my feet warm — not anymore,’’ said Ramona Shields. “This house is nice and warm in the winter, and nice and cool in the summer.’’

    May 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mercy Health System to receive $23 million FEMA grant

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide Mercy Health System of Joplin with $23 million in public assistance funding by the end of the year. The disaster relief was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    April 25, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

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