The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

December 7, 2012

Buyers of Habitat homes celebrate new Mizzou neighborhood

JOPLIN, Mo. — More than the weather was misty Friday as five families celebrated the completion of their Habitat for Humanity homes just in time to have Christmas in the Mizzou neighborhood of the Governor’s Challenge.

New homeowner Melinda Underwood, at 2601 S. Pennsylvania Ave., said she promised herself she was not going to cry anymore over the losses her family sustained in the 2011 tornado and for the joy she, her husband and five children have experienced from the outpouring of assistance.

In the duplex where they lived before it was destroyed in the storm, they were crowded and had little privacy, Underwood said.

“We have places for everything in our home and now we have a place in our heart for Habitat and Mizzou,” she told celebrants at the dedication of the University of Missouri Tigers section.

It is the second section of homes built in Joplin through an effort by Gov. Jay Nixon who called on the state’s athletic teams to each lead a section of rebuilding through the Habitat program. The first section, sponsored by the Kansas City Chiefs, was dedicated a month ago.

The governor asked Mizzou, the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals as well as the St. Louis Rams, Cardinals and Blues to lend their names and labor to build a total of 35 houses for Habitat.

“We’re really excited to be a part of the Governor’s Challenge,” said another homeowner, Christine Taylor, of 2619 S. Virginia Ave., crediting the governor for his work to help rebuild Joplin. “He is going to make sure this town bounces back,” she said.

Taylor, her husband, Larry Fickle, and their 7-year-old son, Dalton, learned from the experience, she said. “We built friendships. We learned the value of volunteering in our community, and we’ve learned that people have big hearts,” she said. “We have nothing but love and gratitude for all the volunteers.”

As for the participation of Mizzou, “We are big fans. They are awesome,” she said. “We never miss a game now. We gather around the TV now and cheer for them.”

It also has been an important event in Dalton’s life. “I love this house so much,” he said.

Mike Alden, athletic director at MU, told the celebrants, “What an awesome view it was when we pulled in today and saw the neighborhood.” There were 150 student-athletes and MU staff who made four trips to Joplin to help with construction. He said that MU also conducted the “1 State, 1 Spirit, 1 Mizzou” campaign that raised $250,000 for tornado relief.

“They worked so hard in the summer heat,” said Underwood of the Mizzou volunteers.

Another one of the home buyers, Annette Webb, of 2615 S. Virginia Ave., said she is grateful to the Habitat organization for helping her buy a house rather than renting again. “The Habitat people helped us in every way to make sure we got a place,” she said.

Jessica Carroll, of 2610 S. Pennsylvania Ave., said she is thankful for her house. Her 5-year-old daughter, Rhianna, chimed in with her feelings too. “I love my home,” she told the crowd.

Habitat finances the houses for 20 years and charges no interest on the loans. The buyers work off their down payment through sweat equity, and attending classes or working on projects to improve their family budgets and financial obligations.

Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean said Habitat’s program “continues to grow Joplin. There are a lot of people in need, and the Governor’s Challenge is wonderful,” she said.

Each dedication “gives you hope and lets you know people still care. There are still a lot of families in need, but it’s a start. You’ve got to start somewhere.”

House count

Scott Clayton, executive director of the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, said Friday that 38 houses have been completed and 33 more are nearly finished in the Habitat rebuilding program.

 

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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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