Joplin gets help from Hundreds of mid Missourians

Hundreds of Mid Missourians teamed up to help a ravaged city.

The buses for Columbia for Joplin left Columbia at about 4 a.m. Saturday morning and volunteers spent the entire day helping pick up the pieces from the horrific tornado on May 22.

As soon buses pulled into Joplin at about 8 a.m. volunteers got to work at Joplin East Middle School.

The tornado caused a brick wall to cave inward onto the schools gym floor and the roof had been ripped off causing debris to scatter areas where children use to play games, walk the halls, learn and eat their lunch.

Volunteers quickly started working on a pile in the middle of the school TMs parking lot that was at least 7 feet high.

They started by sorting the debris into different piles, one for Styrofoam and insulation, one for large pieces of metal and one for trash.

The middle school students aren't able to go to school at the Joplin East Middle School building because of the damage. Instead, classes started in a warehouse.

Volunteer Fred Juetner went to Joplin because he wanted to see what the tornado did first hand.

"I couldn't wrap my mind around the destruction here, I knew it was devastating but I couldn't wrap my mind around it, Juetner said. I had to see it for myself. I wanted to serve, I wanted to help with the cleanup, I wanted to see things first hand."

Student Jaime Cooke came with Columbia for Joplin with a group from Mizzou's Honor Society.

"Columbia TMs kind of a similar town and it could have easily been Columbia," Cooke said.

While most people were shocked by the destruction from the tornado they were also impressed by what has already been accomplished.

"It looks like there's been a lot of rebuild and help which is probably due to the amount of attention it's gotten from the national media," Cooke said.

"I TMm surprised how some of the houses are well underway for constructions, the envelope is there, Juetner said. The roof, the sidewalls and so forth which I think is marvelous for the amount of time since the disaster."

And there's new growth not only with new homes, but also on the trees that were stripped of leaves and bark on May 22.

Since the tornado, more than 46,000 people from all over the country have volunteered to help the city.

An AmeriCorps official said the Columbia for Joplin group put in roughly 5,000 work hours Saturday.