Memorial Day Weekend, a Trip to Joplin

The Memorial Day holiday was a surreal combination of events for me. I had known for a while that I was going to St. Louis with a friend to see her husband play a benefit concert.  The news of the tornado in Joplin was shocking, and we made a plan to drive on west from St. Louis after the show to volunteer. We hooked up my little travel trailer so we'd be sure to have a place to stay and headed south.

Rather than just park Turtle Cabin and opt for a hotel in St. Louis, we found a place for campers there and invited some friends for a cookout.  My brother Brent is wearing the shower cap.

Mitch on the jumbotron...

It was a good show for a good cause.  The fact that we were about to celebrate Memorial Day made it more significant. 

And then on to Joplin the next day.  My son's high school generously donated alot of things, and our new friend Jackie Collins and her volunteer staff at VFW Post 534 in Joplin posed for this picture when we dropped off our supplies at one of the many distribution centers.

This is a main thoroughfare in Joplin.  Everything for several miles was demolished.  It's impossible to explain what it looked like. We registered as volunteers at the disaster relief headquarters on the Missouri Southern State University campus and then helped at a few distribution centers. 

The next morning we were bused in to the high school, which was totally demolished, and then walked from there to a specific location to help with debris clean-up.  On the walk in we saw no houses standing, not a single leaf on the trees.

We helped a young couple whose names were Scott and Heather clear the area where their home had been and salvage belongings.  They'd hoped to find among other things a folder with money they'd been saving.

By the end of the day, we'd met people from all over the country who'd come to help.

What a day.

No comments: