The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

May 18, 2013

Nova Kluseman and Jeanne Morrow

Nova Kluseman has staked her claim on Wednesdays at the Mercy medical office clinics where she volunteers. The staff at Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri will know it’s Thursday when they see Jeanne Morrow walk through the door.

It’s just one day a week spent volunteering their time, but each woman feels that those hours can make a world of difference.

Each Wednesday afternoon, Kluseman can be found manning a table set up in the Mercy clinics, a series of modular buildings erected between the component hospital erected by Mercy Hospital Joplin and the construction site for the new Irving Elementary School.

The pink jacket she wears identifies her as a hospital volunteer, though the term “guide” might be more appropriate.

Kluseman was formerly stationed at the medical office building destroyed in the tornado along with the main St. John’s building. While her duties remain much the same as they have since she began volunteering in 2006, things have changed greatly in the past two years.

“It’s a whole new ball game now,” she said. “Mostly, I send people to their doctors. There’s such a confusion here that you have to know where all the doctors are and what their profession is.”

It’s a big job, considering the doctors are spread throughout the complex, among the maze-like series of walkways and corridors. Kluseman, however, knows it like the back of her hand and is there to answer any questions that patients might have.

She said she loves the four hours a week she gets to spend at the Mercy clinic, although her new location has one disadvantage of her previous spot.

“I miss the coffee pot we had,” she said.

It’s worth mentioning that Kluseman is 96 years old and has no intention of giving up her volunteer duties anytime soon.

“I hope I’m still at it when the new hospital is finished, which is only two years away,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

While Wednesday is Kluseman’s day to volunteer at Mercy, Thursday is the day that Morrow can be found volunteering for Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri.

The 68-year-old Neosho resident has been coming to Joplin to volunteer with the organization each week since June 2011.

“I was anxious to do something (after the tornado),” she said. “I knew I couldn’t be doing debris cleanup or any of the heavier stuff like that.”

When she learned that Catholic Charities had set up their base of operations at McAuley High School after the tornado, she went there and was immediately put to work, she said.

Her initial duties included helping to organize and set up for the clients coming in to seek help. Then, she helped to get organized again when Catholic Charities moved to a new location at Eighth and Main streets.

“We had a lot of donations to sort, I helped paint rails and just did whatever needed to be done,” said Morrow.

While Morrow never intended her work with Catholic Charities to continue indefinitely, that is the way it has worked out, she said.

“I feel like I’m getting more than I’m giving,” she said. “This has become like another family for me ... there’s a loving atmosphere and a real camaraderie that I’ve never experienced before.”

Text Only
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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