The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

May 28, 2013

Rebuild Joplin stages housewarming event

Thanks to volunteers from Rebuild Joplin, Bobby Burton has been able to call a house that has been in his family for more than 60 years home again.

Burton and several members of the Rebuild Joplin team gathered for a housewarming ceremony Tuesday at the house that was severely damaged in the May 22, 2011, tornado. He has been back in the home at 1016 W. 19th St. since about Christmas. Burton said he also lost most of his possessions in the storm that knocked trees onto the house and flooded it with rain.

“Three of the rooms were completely black from the mold that had grown from all of the rain that had come through the house,” Burton said during the ceremony. “The property was damaged so bad that I thought it was impossible to save anything here.”

Burton was happy to be proved wrong. He spent more than seven months at different hotels in the area as volunteers from the Rebuild Joplin team put in close to 3,000 hours rebuilding his house.

Doreen Finnie, Rebuild Joplin development director, said the effort has become commonplace for the nonprofit organization.

“We have worked so hard for this day to come because our mission is to bring everyone home,” Finnie said during Tuesday’s ceremony. “We basically are putting the manual together of our experiences in organizing volunteers to get a community back together.”

She said Rebuild Joplin has reconstructed 49 houses that were destroyed by the 2011 tornado, and the organization has four more slated for similar ceremonies in the next two weeks.

While Burton did not have much when he first moved back in, he was presented with a Christmas tree that was decorated by volunteers from the Rebuild Joplin team. He plans to keep the tree up for his first year in his new home.

“I keep the tree up to remember their work and to keep that spirit here for the first year,” Burton said. “You can’t imagine how thankful a person is when they truly need help and these people gave so much to me.”



Work continues

DOREEN FINNIE, Rebuild Joplin development director, said the organization plans to reconstruct about 100 more homes.

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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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