Anderson Family Has Reason to Reach Out To Joplin

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JOPLIN - John Anderson's family was hundreds of miles away from the Joplin tornado. But he and his wife knew immediately they would have to help as the city's pain unfolded on television.

"There are two things that struck me," said John Anderson, who was in Columbia Monday for his annual celebrity golf tournament. "One, just how desolate it is. And just how wiped out it is."

On Tuesday, the Anderson family traveled to Joplin to tour the damaged areas and present two checks to the superintendent of the Joplin School District, C.J. Huff. The Anderson Family Charitable Foundation donated $10,000 to the school district. John Anderson also presented another $12,500 check, funded by gifts from Carl Edwards and Bill and Nancy Laurie. The foundation also held a school supply drive in Columbia to help Joplin teachers and students.

For Tamara Anderson, this effort meant more than just helping out local schools. She grew up in Carthage, less than 20 miles from Joplin.

"I'm very familiar with the area and when I saw this, it really struck my heart," Tamara Anderson said. She said she hopes the donations will help everyone move forward.

"I hope that they are able to refocus," Tamara Anderson said. "These kids can reassociate with their friends and really spend some time getting to think of something besides the clean up efforts."

John Anderson, a University of Missouri alumnus and current ESPN Sportscenter anchor, also hopes the community can use the high school's first football game as a rallying point.

"School boards are great. I'm here to help education. I've never seen 70,000 people at a school board meeting. I've seen 70,000 people at a football game."