Written by Phyllis Richards
Meet Susan, a lifelong Joplin resident and mother of three. Susan still lives in the house built by her father and she has many fond memories of a happy childhood in Joplin.
On May 22, Susan found herself in the midst of a powerful storm. At first, it sounded like a freight train in the distance, but Susan quickly realized the danger. She ran inside to gather her pets and take cover. Large pieces of debris hit all sides of her house and knocked out the windows in every room. She remembers the storm lasting much longer than she thought was typical of a tornado saying, “It didn’t feel like it would ever stop.” After the roaring ended and the storm passed, Susan surveyed the damage.
Susan has lived in the small one bedroom rental she describes as “cozy” since the storm and says the passage of time has been “nothing short of a total nightmare.” There were struggles with her insurance company, finding a contractor, and getting the reconstruction help she needed.
“I didn’t know what to do, or where to go for help after the storm.” She is hopeful she will be able to move back into her house in the next few months. “I’m the kind of person that doesn’t ask for help. To find people who want to help without asking is truly amazing.” Susan says her heart has been touched by the kindness of the community after the storm, and has pledged to get to know her neighbors when they are able to rebuild.
When the time came to repair the damage to her home, Susan found Rebuild Joplin, a program supported by the United Church of Christ that’s helping people repair homes damaged in the storm. Rebuild Joplin is providing help to families by connecting them with available assistance and resources needed to start the rebuilding process and uses their own volunteers and staff to defray costs.
Contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing funded the efforts of rebuilding lives through the work of Rebuild Joplin, Church World Service and other relief groups working in Joplin.