Joplin: A Portrait of Hope

 By Danni R. Eickenhorst, Content Specialist, Midland Division
 
Vicki and Anthony Rupprecht both work at the local cereal factory, Gilster Mary Lee. Vicki had just gotten off work, come home and taken a shower. Both Anthony and their two year old son were napping. She woke them up and

Vicki & Anthony grab a quick breakfast at The Salvation Army canteen near their home, before heading home to continue repairs.

suggested that they go out for dinner with a gift card they’d received. As they prepared to leave the house, her father called and told them to take cover.

 
Vicki turned on the local news, heard a brief report and almost immediately they lost power and the storm hit hard. Vicki and Anthony gathered in a central room of their home with their child, Vicki hovering over him to protect him.
 
“They always say it sounds like a freight train and it truly does,” she said. They looked out their kitchen window and saw large debris flying by their home, and a 20 foot tree land in their yard.
 
“We are so thankful to be alive,” said Vicki. “Had that tree fallen a few feet to the left, it would have taken out our home and possibly our lives,” said Anthony.
 
The Rupprechts feel fortunate because their house is still standing. Their windows are broken, their porch hsa fallen off, their roof and siding are destroyed, but they still have a home.
 
The Rupprechts have been without power since the event. They are relying heavily on The Salvation Army canteen located a few blocks from their house at 20th & Main to provide their daily meals and items for their personal needs.
 
“We’re so thankful for this canteen setup,” said Vicki, noting that it has been a critical source of help as they learn to navigate without reliable transportation.
Their employer’s facilities have been badly damaged, but they stlil have jobs for now, though they do not have a way to get to work each day. “Our neighbor’s roof was on my car,” reported Vicki. “And my bike and truck have been totalled.” said Anthony.
 
They huddled together as they rode out the reprisal storms on Tuesday night, realizing how lucky they were to have a roof over their heads, no matter how battered.
 
The process of rebuilding their lives will be a long one, but they have a head start on so many of their friends. Vicki hopes to rebuild without taking charitable assistance, but knows that if their needs extend beyond basic food and personal supplies that their local corps will help them coordinate and rebuild.
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