Saturday, May 28, 2011

Help Park University assist Joplin tornado victims

Park Univ. is going to "fill up the dome" next week to help Joplin residents. In the dome, where we play basketball/volleyball, Park will be collecting household items from 8am-6pm next Tues through Thurs. They need Flashlights, Batteries, Buckets and plastic totes , Hand sanitizing wipes and baby wipes, Toiletries (of all kinds) Laundry detergent, Cleaning supplies, Baby supplies (diapers and formula), Bottled water,Canned and dry goods, Blankets, and Work gloves.

If you're from out of town and would like to donate, email me-- --and we can make arrangements.

Celebrating life, and beer, with tornado survivors

As my brother, uncle, a Moldovan friend and I chatted about cars at a Kansas City-area watering hole last night, we were politely interrupted by a 30-something woman who asked us if we wanted to see a picture of her car. We said sure, not knowing what she had in mind. Her white Camry was speared through the back window by a long 2X4. It took a minute to figure out, but we quickly realized she was a Joplin, Missouri tornado victim.

She and her husband lived in a second story apartment block that didn't have a basement, so as they heard the tornado approach, they hunkered down in the bathtub and covered themselves with a mattress. They emerged to see that they apartment, and most of their things, had been destroyed.

The woman is a nurse at St. John's Regional Medical Center, which was at ground zero when the tornado hit. She said it looked like a nuclear bomb hit it. Her husband, who sat nearby, teaches at Missouri Southern University. They were in Kansas City staying with the husband's family, but plan to return to Joplin in a week or so. (Photo-St. John's Hospital, from )

My brother Bill asked the woman if she knew the fate of a Joplin sporting goods store run by a friend of his. The woman couldn't tell Bill much, only that the store was close to the path of destruction. Bill said his emails, phone calls, and text messages haven't gotten through. I could tell he was worried, and could get a small taste of the horror, the impotency, of not knowing the fate of friends and family.

Before we broke off the conversation, the woman, whose name I never did get, showed us pictures of her devastated neighborhood on her Blackberry. It's incredible that she and her husband walked away without a scratch. I was struck about how matter-of-fact and unemotional she was about the whole thing, and wondered if I could be that composed under the circumstances.

As we parted, we all simultaneously said how badly we felt for the victims, and how happy we were that she and her husband were physically unharmed. I regret being unable to come up with something more uplifting or inspirational.

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