Many thanks for the information regarding this event. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it, as much as I would love to, but I will definitely be there in spirit with you all.
In May 2011, myself, and a group of friends and family, some from Australia and some from the U.S embarked on an adventure doing Route 66, starting off in Chicago.
When leaving Australia, we heard about the devastating tornado that had hit Joplin.
As I live in a tropical part of Australia, we often get hit with cyclones, which are similar to your hurricanes, and have seen and suffered the devastation it causes, but when we decided to take a day out of our holiday to come help out in Joplin, I have to honestly say I was GOBSMACKED. The huge area of devastation was unbelievable! We worked alongside some amazing volunteers that day, and will never forget them. When being bused out to an area to work, a couple of young American guys heard our accents (because apparently we have one 😉 and they asked what we were doing there. When we told them we wanted to help, they couldn’t thank us enough. They were so thankful for the help, which was very humbling considering what you had all just been through. I remember these same young guys being injured that day, when a truck came in the back of one of the properties to pick up a vehicle, and bumped a power pole and it spun around and hit the guys in the legs. I never heard what injuries they had, but feared they may have had broken limbs or dislocation at the very least. I certainly hoped they were ok.
We also found a kitten alive under the rumble which was really heart-warming. We heard the stories of a couple of the home owners that day, whom had been in their houses when it hit, including an older lady, and was so glad they had come out of it alive, considering their houses was just a pile of rubble when finished.
I would really love to come back for a visit and see Joplin as it should be, rebuilt and proud, and hopefully I will get back there one day.
I am in awe of your spirit and grit, and how you came together as a community to help each other. That is one thing we have in common, we call it our ‘Aussie Spirit’, but obviously you guys have the same spirit – ‘American Spirit’ as well.
I will remember my experience in Joplin forever and always, and will always feel a bond and protectiveness towards Joplin. God Bless Joplin! xx