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Volunteer ASU cleans up Joplin

Published: Monday, October 8, 2012

Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 16:10

In May 2011, the town of Joplin, Mo. was the bull’s eye for a devastating half-mile-wide tornado. The massive twister killed 161 people and destroyed as many as 500 businesses. Over a year later there is still cleanup to be done, and last weekend Volunteer ASU set out to lend Joplin a helping hand.

A team of 13 volunteers left Jonesboro on Oct. 5, to make the five hour trip to Missouri’s southwest corner. Once they arrived, Volunteer ASU joined forces with Rebuild Joplin, an organization dedicated to providing relief to those impacted by the storm.

Volunteer ASU spent two days in Joplin, a time frame during which program coordinator Jodie Cherry said her team got a great deal accomplished. Though many in Joplin no longer need outside assistance, there are still more than 200 people living in trailers provided by FEMA while waiting for their homes to be rebuilt.

Members of Volunteer ASU did their part to speed up the process by assisting in the reconstruction of a house.

“Our project for Saturday was demolition. We were able to completely gut a damaged house for an 86-year-old lady,” Cherry said.

Volunteer ASU also contributed to general cleanup. Despite empty spaces throughout the town where a business or home once stood, Joplin is almost back to normal.

“Brand new neighborhoods have been built. (The area) is definitely looking better,” Cherry said.

It was alternative spring break chair Zach Marsh who originally came up with the idea to take a team to the storm-ravaged Missouri town.

“Joplin is close enough to be considered our neighbor, and neighbors help neighbors,” Marsh said. “It was a rewarding experience. I could really feel the gratitude of the people that we helped.”

ASU students interested in getting involved with more projects like this can find Volunteer ASU on Facebook and Twitter, or stop by Volunteer ASU’s office in the Leadership Center in the Student Union.


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