Year Since Joplin Tornado Marked by Hope, Struggle
JOPLIN (AP) - A year after the deadliest tornado in decades hit southwest Missouri, the images remain indelible.
A bombed-out hospital, its top floors reduced to grotesquely twisted metal. The smiling face of a newly minted high school graduate, a YouTube sensation in both life and death.
Thousands of flattened homes and businesses, 161 dead and hordes of volunteers from across the country who arrived to help within hours of the May 22, 2011 twister that packed winds of more than 200 mph.
The rebuilding effort is readily apparent in Joplin, where new homes dot the pocked landscape and big-box businesses quickly rebuilt along the city's main commercial strip.
But recovery is far slower for community members putting back the pieces of their lives, homes, jobs and families.