Joplin Recovery Facebook Page Gains National Attention
COLUMBIA - 28-year-old Columbia resident and CEO of AdVentures Brent Beshore desired to do the same as many when the Joplin tornado hit... help.
Beshore was born and raised in Joplin and said,"When I heard that a tornado had gone through there and obviously the devastation, I wanted to hop in the car and go down there. I talked to my dad about it and he said, 'What are you gonna do? The middle of the night and you're going to get down here and do what?' And so I just felt helpless and didn't know what to do."
Beshore wanted to learn what help was needed, what was going on and where to get more information.
That desire for information is what led to his creation of the Facebook page: Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery.
That page has now gained national recognition as a nominee for VH1's Facebook section of the "Do Something!" Award.
Beshore said the page launched approximately 12 to 15 minutes after the news broke about Joplin's tornado. It began with 20 to 30 people "liking" the page. The next morning, the number broke 40,000. It has since grown to 173,418. The page also contributed to fundraising for the telethon on KOMU 8 May 26 that raised $1.7 million to go to the Heart of Missouri United Way for Joplin relief. Other local institutions like Mizzou Athletics also raised money for that effort.
Beshore learned news of the nomination Monday night and said he was blown away. Though the contest was never a goal in his own mind, he hopes it will raise awareness for Joplin's recovery. The projected recovery time is 10 years. Because of that, Beshore said it's more important now than ever to keep awareness of need alive.
"All the attention and excitement and everything, well now that all fades, is when people really need the help. And so hopefully if we can go out there and we can win, we gotta beat Lady Gaga and Lance Armstrong," Beshore joked, referring to the Robin Hood Foundation's Lady Gaga Giveaway on Facebook for $1 million to support New York Teens living in poverty and Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Chalkbot app created on Facebook which takes submissions for inspirational messages, aimed to be written on roads during Tour de France. Beshore continued, "If we can do that, then putting the spotlight back on Joplin and reminding people that they need help not just now, but in six months from now, two years from now."
"My name's the one that's on it, but this was really a collaborative effort with a whole lot of people," Beshore emphasized.
Among others, he said the Heart of Missouri United Way board helped make it possible for 100 percent of the Facebook page donations to go directly to Joplin.
Votes must be in before the 2011 Do Something! Awards premiere, August 18th on VH1.