The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

May 22, 2013

Banner from Joplin to be sent to Moore residents

JOPLIN, Mo. — A giant vinyl banner adorned with heartfelt messages from Joplin tornado survivors to the residents of Moore, Okla., became a centerpiece of Wednesday’s observance of the two-year anniversary of the May 22, 2011, tornado.

Hundreds lined up in Cunningham Park to write personal messages on the 20-foot-long banner that simply stated “Miracle of the Human Spirit.” The banner was provided by the city of Joplin and will be sent later this week to Moore, as the city begins to rebuild in a way that has become familiar to Joplin residents.

Lenny Brubaker, with the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, said it was one of the many tasks city workers have taken on during the anniversary observance.

“It is Joplin’s mission to instill hope,” Brubaker said. “The crowds have come through steadily all afternoon because they feel a connection to the survivors. They want to tell them that they aren’t alone in the way that they are feeling now.”

As Gayle Carnes, of Joplin, took her turn signing the banner, she paused to read what others had written. Carnes said she signed the banner because she wanted to see the positive things she experienced in the aftermath of the Joplin tornado shine through to others.

“We can comfort them from an experience we know, and that is what we should do,” Carnes said. “I remember all of the positive words that came from all over the world, and I want them to feel the same way. This is what we should do.”

The banner-signing station was part of a circle of tents in the park that represented several of the organizations that have helped with Joplin’s recovery. Charities, city offices and art organizations shared information about where the city stands in the recovery effort.

Renee White, chairwoman of the Joplin Long Term Recovery Committee, said the anniversary had helped reconnect many of those who have worked together over the past two years.

“You start recognizing helpers or people that you have helped as they come through,” White said. “But then a day like this reminds you what everyone has gained in the face of so much loss. We’ve grown socially together, and we have gained strength as we have continued to rebuild.”

The committee serves as an umbrella for 90 organizations. Many of their efforts have consisted of volunteer coordination and finding ways to meet the needs of people who were left without homes.

For Art Feeds founder Meg Bourne-Hulsey, the anniversary event represented the positive impact that her organization has had in the emotional recovery of area youths.

“We wanted to repair the trauma that these kids experienced because they are Joplin’s future,” she said. “To see the state that they were in immediately after and to see them smile today, two years later, is worth everything we have done. Their happiness is beautiful.”

Tonya Sprenkle, vice president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, showed floor plans for the city’s new library and senior housing at the chamber’s tent. While these plans have been public for some time, this was the first time several residents had seen them up close. Sprenkle said it was important to remind the community of what is to come for the city.

“It can be a long way back after a disaster, and we want people to know where we are with these new projects,” Sprenkle said. “We want to get the message out that these new buildings will help anchor area businesses around them.”

Sprenkle said she hopes that what the Joplin chamber has learned during the rebuilding effort can be passed on to Moore.

“We want to give them the playbook so they can start back on the right foot,” she said. “We got that help two years ago, and we are ready to help them get back by letting them use our experience.”

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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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