(Hey! That’s Northpark Mall, also home of the Joplin Eagles! Thanks, Jane, for the video.)
I hail from the Joplin area, the site of the worst tornado imaginable on May 22, 2011. A third of the town was blown to thunder. The death toll heads north of 150. Trees were stripped bare. Schools were destroyed — businesses and homes, too.
What do you do with tragedy like that?
Well, you sit tight and wait for the casserole brigade — people from all over who want to make things right. Before the dust had settled — literally — people were in those devastated streets with food, with work gloves, with hope that they could somehow turn the clock back to before the winds came.
Of course they can’t, but it’s awesome to watch that kind of effort. Volunteers — faith groups, atheists, agnostics, you name it — came from all over to pull on gloves and pick up debris, and, later, hammers. Barry Manilow delivered musical instruments to Joplin’s high school band. The United Arab Emirates donated $500,000 for laptops for students, with a promise to match further donations.
Add to that volunteers a buncha Yankees (I say that with love) from eastern Connecticut. They’ll be featured on an upcoming episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and good on ’em. (And thanks, William, for the head’s up on this link.)
Go, Joplin! Go, volunteers! Git some!