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13 June 2011

Kelley: House Members Help Joplin

Last Thursday, we joined a group of about 70 from the Missouri House of Representatives, of which around 40 were House Members and the rest were staff and family. We were informed that to date, there have been more than 16,000 volunteers and around 60,000 man hours in the area, trying to help in any way they could. This ¾ mile by 13 mile area that was hit, resulted in a 7 mile area of around 7,000 homes totally devastated and 22,000 people displaced. This area was left with nothing that can be repaired or saved. The bare remains of their homes will be leveled and removed once all of the debris has been sorted into piles of lumber, metal, plastic, clothing, appliances, etc. Most items are not even recognizable from the other. Close your eyes and imagine if you can a toy city that someone took and put through a shredder. This is not your typical community with windows broken, trees down, and no electricity. They were left with nothing, no home, clothing, food, or even a vehicle to drive away from their home. We also visited the CEO’s of hospitals, St. Johns which was totally destroyed, and Freeman hospital. They said the biggest problem in trying to treat the victims was the lack of space, no check-in area so they couldn’t even take down names or know how many they treated. Because of all the broken water lines, the water pressure was too low to sanitize their tools. Each time they sent ambulances to neighboring hospitals they asked them to bring back sterilized equipment. They have continued to operate even though they have no building. They operate out of tents, similar to a M.A.S.H unit. They have learned from this tornado that when they rebuild, it will not be in the vicinity of another hospital, to lessen the chance of both hospitals being the victim of any possible future acts of nature. We then went to the victims’ homes and helped remove and sort debris around the houses. However, the main purpose of the Missouri House’s visit was to take a first hand look at the infrastructure of the City of Joplin and determine how we as legislators are going to ensure the support that is going to be needed for many years to come. With a third of the cities income tax base gone, they are faced with major challenges to keep the city operating to meet the needs of its citizens.Our citizens have worked from day one to do whatever they can to rebuild Joplin. They are already putting up new buildings and joined forces to work together as a community to reach out to their neighbors in a time of need. Missourians know how to take care of business! How to be there for each other, to offer our support, to lend a helping hand, to show our love, and most importantly offer our prayers. Mike

In this photo: Trevor Hobbs Aaron Finney , Chandler Drollinger Kieran Hanley , Tommy Richards (, Rep. Mike Kelley Rep. Jeff Grisamore's daughters

In this photo: Kieran Hanley , Tommy Richards , Aaron Finney , Rep. Mike Kelley , Chandler Drollinger, Trevor Hobbs

In this photo: , Trevor Hobbs , Rep. Mike Kelley , Aaron Finney Kieran Hanley

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