Tragedy in Joplin


May 24, 2011

Chamber President and CEO James A. Heeter

The wrenching coverage of the Joplin tornado disaster was especially personal for me – I was born not far from there and still have family and friends in the area.  As so many are doing, I pray for those whose lives have been lost or shattered.

The response we’ve seen from Kansas City reinforces what we already knew about our community – our citizenry is both compassionate and generous.  We’ve posted a list of ways you can help…and we hope you will. 

There are three stages in any disaster:

  • Preparation – the kind of training exhibited, for example, by the staff at Joplin’s St. John’s  Medical Center, who quickly moved their patients into the hallways and away from broken glass.
  • Search & rescue – the heartbreaking, occasionally joyful, efforts we’re seeing now, as first responders work through rain and hail and lightning to – hopefully – find survivors.
  • Recovery – the third phase and often the most difficult.  As the story moves off the front pages, the citizens of Joplin will try to put the pieces back together again.

Right now, Joplin is still in stage 2 – search and rescue.  As the city enters the recovery phase, the community will still need our help.  We’re staying in close touch with the Joplin Chamber and other Missouri Chambers to see what we can do once the television cameras and reporters move on to the next story.

We’ll keep you posted.


One Response to “Tragedy in Joplin”

  1. Jan Young Says:

    Pictures of the devastation in Joplin cannot compare to being there in person. It looked like a war zone. I took three days of vacation to go to Joplin with a team from my church. We were there Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday immediately following the tornado. We helped people pack up what was left of their belongings and get them into storage. We cut down trees, moved trash out of yards, provided hot meals, and in some cases, just listened as people shared their encounter with the tornado. I wish I could’ve stayed longer, as there is so much to do, and so many people in need. Please help any way you can.

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