The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

August 27, 2013

Closing of Transform Joplin Warehouse marks milestone

Tornado recovery in Joplin reached an unofficial milestone with the announcement that Transform Joplin has closed “The Warehouse” at the corner of 12th Street and South Wall Avenue.

“It’s very bittersweet for us,” said Amy Ipsen, who with her husband, Bryan, purchased the 20,000-square-foot building a few months after the tornado in an effort to streamline recovery and rebuilding efforts, and put multiple groups under one roof.

It became a headquarters for faith-based ministries seeking to aid in the rebuilding effort: Immanuel Lutheran, Baptist, Christian, Catholic and Methodist churches shared the space, as did Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, and Hammers and Hearts.

Inside, volunteers built shelves, organized resources and built two rooms as a secure, central location for a $150,000 tool lending library donated by DeWalt.

Immanuel Lutheran formed a nonprofit called Transform Joplin. It organized volunteers and streamlined home rebuilding and repair efforts. It even conducted a baptism in the warehouse.

“But this spring, we started talking about what was going to happen over the summer, because we knew that most all of the tornado relief is finished,” Ipsen said.

Immanuel Lutheran’s relief director, Trent Davis, left in May. Hammers and Hearts left last fall.

“We spoke to others, and they were in the same situation, they were wrapping up, so we made a plan that at the end of the summer we’d close,” Ipsen said.

The last of the groups have cleared their belongings, so the warehouse is again empty.

But Immanuel Lutheran and Transform Joplin are not closing up shop.

“The closing of one door has opened up another,” Ipsen said.

After donating “a significant portion” of the tools to the Pittsburg State University construction program, which had ties to the group through the Joplin Extreme Home Makeover build, the group purchased a trailer for the remainder of the tools and loaded it with supplies.

“Our goal for Transform Joplin is to now be a response team, to be able to go if somebody else needs it,” Ipsen said. “We have a stocked trailer, we have experience, and we’re ready to go if the need arises. It’s opened a new door for us to have a new opportunity to serve others.”

Ipsen said a good thing was borne of a tragedy.

“I don’t have words to describe my gratitude to the teams of volunteers that came here, or the partnership between the churches and the various nonprofits. It really tied us all together as one community and showed that we can work together across denominational lines,” she said. “It meant so much to see that happen.”

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
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    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

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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

  • 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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