Joplin Hopeful for a New Beginning
JOPLIN - Less than a mile from St.John's Hospital sits one of the hardest hit areas from the tornado that tore through the city on Sunday.
Despite total loss in parts of Joplin, residents still have a positive attitude. They say the city will be rebuilt and reborn.
One the eve of one the nation's deadliest disasters, Joplin resident Bailey Knight worked in a local Walmart. She heard sirens, screams and saw the lights flicker. Then she heard someone over the intercom of the Walmart say code blackout, which means severe weather. The employees, customers and associates moved into a protection area, but that proved to be more harmful than protecting.
"You could hear the wall caving in and feel the rain and wind coming down on you," Knight said.
The tornado completely destroyed the Walmart that collapsed around Knight. She told KOMU that she crawled out the rubble and walked to her fiance's house. When she arrived, the house was totaled and no one was there. She said she thought everyone had died. She left her fiance's place and went to her mother's house and saw a similar sight. Moments later, she received a call and found out everyone was safe.
Knight said the community is what helped her get through this hard time and is grateful for all the support.
"It's amazing, It's heartbreaking to know that the world knows Joplin. The world is going to help us," Knight said.
There are stories like these all across the Joplin area and stories on people keeping faith in a community now known across the world.
More than 100 people fell victim to the nation's deadliest tornado in over 60 years. A war zone, junk yard, and something out of a horror movie describe what the Joplin area now looks like. A life's work destroyed in a matter of seconds, but resident Emma Meeks said that doesn't matter; the people do. Meeks found her way through pain and hurt through the love of a hurting yet embracing community.
"It's something we're always going to have camaraderie about it. Hearing my friends voice and just talking to them makes me feel closer," Meeks said.
For Meeks, that's a story of triumph and a story that will live longer than the stories coming from the epicenter of tragedy.