The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

November 12, 2012

Former Joplin resident’s storm documentary to debut Monday

— For Gregory Fish, there was one word that stood out when trying to describe the resolve demonstrated by Joplin residents in the aftermath of the May 22, 2011, tornado: “steadfast.”

“I was thinking about a title, and that word just popped out,” he said. “I looked up the definition and said, ‘That’s it.’”

Fish, 32, is the director of “Steadfast,” a new documentary that chronicles the year after the tornado. It is set to debut at 7 p.m. Monday at College Heights Christian Church, 4311 Newman Road.

He is a former College Heights student who graduated from Ozark Christian College in 2002. At the time of the tornado, he was working for a church in Brownsville, Texas.

He came back to the Joplin area several times to shoot video and ultimately moved to Mount Vernon.

“I did some tribute videos that were passed around on Facebook, and it evolved into a feature-length project,” Fish said. “I didn’t set out to do that, but I knew it was the best way that I could help — by letting the people of Joplin tell the story of what happened.”

As he began talking to survivors and other residents, he decided to make it a longer-term project.

“I knew that the (national media) cameras would be gone and wanted the story to continue to be told,” Fish said. “I was there documenting through the one-year anniversary and made it a goal to release the film at the year-and-a-half mark.”

Despite the fact that it was his first directorial effort, he said he dived right in. He said production of the documentary was “pretty much a one-man show,” from the filming and writing to the editing.

“It was a massive undertaking, but I’ve enjoyed the process very much,” said Fish, who is the marketing director for Motive Matters, a relationship training program, and a writer for an online Christian magazine. “It’s rewarding to be able to help in this way.”

The film will be for sale at the screening for $15.99 on DVD. Fish said 50 percent of the funds raised from the film will go to Rebuild Joplin.

“It confirmed what I already knew about Joplin,” Fish said of the year and a half he spent making the film. “It’s a special place; there’s really no other place like it.”

Online trailer

TO VIEW A TRAILER for “Steadfast” and learn more about the film, people may visit http://steadfastdocumentary.com.

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
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    June 11, 2014

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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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