JOPLIN - As Joplin continues its rebuilding from last year's killer tornado, one of those leading the charge is Pastor Randy Gariss.
"When President Obama finished his speech and walked off the stage, he hugged me and said to me 'I meant it. It is the family of faith that will fix the hearts of this town,'" Gariss said. "I'll tell you months later something profound has happened to this town."
As we know, thousands of volunteers headed for Joplin.
"The first thing I want the people of Missouri to hear is 'Thank you,'" Gariss said. "You guys came from every direction and so quickly."
"Now, nearly nine months after the tornado, as the wrecking ball hits the hospital, as the high school still lies in ruins, emotions are deep," Gariss said. "You can still help. If you volunteered find that relational thread and follow it find a relational thread and stay with it people need to be valued and loved for the long term so if you came from Missouri find that thread and don't turn loose of it," Gariss said.
Pastor Gariss said people should never underestimate the need for neighbors.
"I've never seen such incredible kindness," Gariss said. "I've never seen people that finally figured what matters to them in life to take care of neighbors and friends I've said they need to build a statue to the value of a neighbor."
And as thousands came in January to say goodbye to the old hospital and break ground for the new one. Pastor Gariss shared his important message.
"We live off schedules that are hectic. We get upset if a $2 piece of plastic in the car breaks. And when huge things hit, you're either crushed or you sort through your values and you decide what matters," Gariss said. "I was with three families that lost loved ones in this tornado all three will tell you, it's the worst pain they've ever had. But all three will tell you they re-sorted their values. They will tell you other things don't bother them as much because these are the things that matter. Life is too stinking short to live it. In trivial ways, Joplin isn't going to be perfect. It's not going to be the model of anything. But you're going to have more people who are going to live a real life instead of a superficial life as a result of this. I don't wish this tragedy on anybody, but in a blink of an eye, you'll stop living trivial and you'll start living significant. And that's the biggest thing that I've watched people's lives."