Hundreds of Columbia Volunteers Help in Joplin
COLUMBIA- Volunteers gathered at The Crossing church at 3:45 am. Saturday. Everyone in the group had seen the destruction in Joplin on television, but the images didn't do the wreckage justice.
"You see destruction, but you see it in a little snapshot view on a camera. Here you see a 360 view of it and it's a lot worse than I thought it was," said volunteer Shane Blank.
For Blank and most of the group, it was the first time they had seen the damage in person. Even though several volunteers had seen tornado damage before, the scene in Joplin couldn't compare to other storms.
"This just goes on and on and on; this is completely different," said Blank.
Temperatures reached triple digits, but the heat did not stop the group from raking up debris, tearing down walls, and recovering what's left of former residents' lives. Workers found a Bible, photo album, teddy bears, and even Christmas ornaments.
The volunteers from around mid-Missouri stayed positive throughout the day, looking toward the future of Joplin.
"I know we've got a little ways to go, but I think we're going to get there," said volunteer Jenna Smith.
Most of the debris in Joplin sits sorted in piles on the street corners, ready for the city to pick it up.
"The destruction of this disaster doesn't correlate to how quickly the clean up is going. Narrower disasters have taken longer," said Quinn Gardner of AmeriCorps.
According to AmeriCorps, almost 90 percent of the debris on private property has been cleared because of the large amount of volunteers.