Are You Prepared for Another ‘Joplin’ Disaster?


One of my grandsons called the other night. He told us he had gone through Joplin Missouri lately on a work related trip. He was completely caught off guard when they went through Joplin. “I wasn’t prepared for the devastation, he remarked.”

My wife and I live in Missouri and have seen from the beginning this terrible destruction brought on by category F5 tornado. Our church group went to Joplin Missouri a few weekends after the tornado hit to help those who lost homes and others who lost everything they owned. I have been to disasters before but this one is the worst I have ever experienced.

In 1965 I lived in Denver Colorado when the South Platt River flooded through the city. We lived on the West side of the river and for several months; those who lived on the west side had hours of delays getting to work across to the East side. There were families who lived close to the river who lost everything but not like what happened in Joplin. It looked like a war zone.

Trees down broken in the middle, homes gone completely scattered everywhere and buildings destroyed. The waste and carnage is heartbreaking. The spirit of these people is amazing. They are resilient and uplifting. I know people in other areas have had very difficult disasters as well but these are like my next door neighbors. Life is difficult and tough at times, like recessions when money is tight, but this makes these types of misfortune seem cruel.

It is a time when the American spirit comes to the forefront. There are people who come from everywhere to help others just like they were family. This show of care and concern makes this person appreciate our freedom and our love of life. In this age when life can be so cynical and cruel comes a disaster that bring us back together as a people. Maybe someone greater than us is trying to tell us something. I think about the little part that was done this past week.

I wonder if it was worth the effort. You could hardly tell we had done anything when leaving Sunday. I also know a town or city isn’t rebuilt over night. Every hour spent can eventually help and those who are affected the most are grateful. If they aren’t grateful it would still be worth the effort. What I’m saying is we shouldn’t look for gratitude but just feel the satisfaction of helping our fellow beings. Oh the gratitude will come no doubt but the desire to help motivates us to help and not look for praise or thank fullness.

Gary Adams our group leader described the tornado site in Joplin as an aftermath of a war zone. It is just devastation everywhere you look. Homes gone neighborhoods destroyed and commercial buildings twisted and crumbled up like waste paper in the trash can. Our group worked at the city park cleaning up debris blown around from the tornado. It was hard to visualize it was a park once.

Temporary mobile homes are being trucked into Joplin and some are accessible now. Some stores are up and functioning and even a restaurant are busy. The Wal-Mart Complex is now up and functioning. There are charity fund raising events all around Missouri. Branson had a show of Country Singers raised close to two hundred thousand dollars. Other charity groups are also donating time and money to help relieve the burdens on the people in Joplin. Church groups and television and radio stations are collecting nonperishable food items and hygiene goods for the people in Joplin.

The rebuilding of Joplin is going to take years before it is completed. Just the construction of the neighborhoods is almost mind boggling. When it is completed it will probably cost billions of dollars to restore it to a good functioning neighborhood again. I’m sure time will tell how this ends but I hope it is with happiness of the people who will remain and live after the restoration of Joplin. The problem now Joplin is not alone. Floods on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers were on a rampage this past season. People were getting flooded out in low leveled towns and villages. Farm land and crops were destroyed. Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri are all got hit hard by the weather. Even parts of South Dakota were under the same flood conditions. This winter could bring relief or just more hard cold weather.

What will we do if this continues, season after season and maybe into this winter and through the winter? The world of religionists tells us this will continue and get worse. If that be the case what does the individual do to prepare? Take a long look at where you are and how you will survive this or any type of disaster. I’m not going to preach doom and gloom but we are in difficult time and these times require preparedness. The old Scout Moto, “Be Prepared” is the answer. We need to get it together. Start with Emergency Kits with 72 hours of necessities; a food supply to get us through tough times, whatever it takes to get prepared, now. Where ever you live now is the time to plan ahead.

I have a friend who lives just outside of Joplin. He got hit hard but in his basement was his emergency kits and food supply. It got them by for several days without going for help. They had cooking gear, small stove and of course food. They lived in the back yard in a tent but they got along just fine. It may take a year for their home to be replaced but they got by the first two weeks without any assistance from anyone. They are looking to move into one of the mobile homes soon. They are just grateful they all survived.

Thanksgiving is coming soon. Why don’t we make it our business to think of those who have lost much and find a way to help? Look on the internet for charities who work in the Joplin area but be careful, demons of ill will are lurking to snatch money from those willing to help charities, they set up fake charities to steal funds for those in need. We have wicked people in every corner of the globe.

The net is full of helps but try the

No one can harm the man to himself does no harm.

Robert D. Ashford was a Marine during the cold war and is now retired, after 50 years of construction management. He is a keen genealogist and loves humor. He watches the political horizons and likes to write commentary on what’s next.