For the past two months I’ve been walking through dangerous areas where tornados occur on a daily basis. Fortunately I have not been in the path of such destruction but the frequency of these whirlwind natural disasters has increased dramatically this year. No one was expecting to experience the pure wrath and destruction of the many tornadoes which tore through the areas.
On May 22nd, an EF-5 tornado leveled the city of Joplin, Missouri. At least 158 lives were lost and over 900 injuries were reported. The tornado destroyed over 8,000 homes, 18,000 cars, St. John’s Medical Center as well as several schools. Despite the fact Joplin is situated in the well known “Tornado Ally” no one expected such a massive tornado to destroy the city.
I remember watching the news and witnessing the video footage and pictures of the devastation. With each saddening image I couldn’t believe that something produced from the sky could cause such destruction. About two weeks ago I was looking over my map of the Trail and noticed that Joplin was just a short walk off of the Trail of Hope. At that moment, my heart told me that Joplin was a place that needed to be included in the Trail in a very special way.
I called my good buddy John and he was able to make some arrangements in Joplin for me. Yesterday I made an official connection with one of the local churches. They will house me as I assist with the clean up process in the city. I will arrive in Joplin on Sunday evening and will stay there and help the community for 8 days.
I feel I will be able to lend a hand in a small way to restore hope within that community. I’m looking forward to being a part of something which builds hope and assists recovery. It will be an honor to include Joplin within the Trail of Hope.
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