Weather warning sirens sounded at 5:11p.m. on Sunday May 22nd, twenty minutes later the town of Joplin, Missouri was hit by an EF5 tornado that stretched three quarters of a mile wide and destroyed a path 13.8 miles long through the city of just over 50,000.As news of the disaster spread, the death toll continued to climb to 141 confirmed dead and pictures of the devastation astonished. Joplin seemed almost completely leveled, in areas where the tornado touched down, with extensive damage to large businesses like Wal-Mart and Home Depot as well as one of the two hospitals in town, St. John’s Regional Medical Center.
Rescue teams began the process of digging out and accounting for the missing immediately with efforts culminating into a final sweep that occurred Wednesday, May 31. In just over a weeks time the number of unaccounted for had shrunken from a high of 232 to the most recent count of 10, with hopes of finding those final unaccounted for alive.
President Barak Obama visited Joplin on May 29, 2011, just one week after the devastating tornado. President Obama comforted people who had lost everything and attended a memorial service to remember those who lost their lives as well as observing a moment of silence at 5:41p.m. marking the time, just a week prior, when the tornado first hit.
Joplin, Missouri is approximately 400 miles just east of due North from Tyler, Texas. In Tyler, Cori and Ryan Moore watched the devastating reports coming from Joplin as they discussed their plans to take a family vacation further south to Galveston.Increasingly, Cori and Ryan found themselves torn. “How could we plan a trip to go and have fun and spend money while these people in Joplin were hurting?”
And so, Mrs. Moore did what most people do not. She put action to her convictions. With the help of her boss and business owner, Dr. Dennis Santo of Santo Chiropractic, Moore first set up a page on the business’ website and facebook giving patients and friends the chance to donate to support a trip to Joplin.
As Moore began to reach out through friends and especially facebook, she came across Mission Tyler Director, Travis White, who joined in the effort. White has led mission trips such as this into devastated areas previously, and offered a wealth of experience and connections.
From that point, the dream of trading in a vacation for a relief effort had taken shape. Donations of food items, water, clothes, toys and money came in to and through Moore and White, ready to be delivered to the hurting people of Joplin.“Here in our office we just try to love on our patients,” said Moore, “we figure people need love more than they need anything else and the people of Joplin are no different.”
Moore and White will not go alone, their efforts of reaching out to the people of Joplin spread and found like-minded people who also are willing to give up time and effort to help out any way they can. A volunteer team of over 30 people is set to leave Thursday evening
from Tyler’s First Baptist Church South Campus with the goal of sharing love with the people of Joplin, Missouri.
You can contact Cori Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or find a list of supplies on her company website: www.santochiropractic.com and click on the Joplin relief effort.
Travis White can be reached at email@example.com or www.missiontyler