“Doing the Most Good” in Joplin

By: Tom Kovach, Major Gifts Director, Midland Division

A freshly washed semi with a white trailer and a deep purple cab rambled down I-44 at Exit 6 Wednesday as another hot, sunny and breezy day began. The shiny front grill of the truck stood out and the back of the trailer was even more prominent. It read: “This company was built by a blind man with a vision.”

No more than a few miles from the highway, a new day arose at the corner of 26th and Main. This intersection has become almost home for some residents of Joplin as well as The Salvation Army Incident Command Center, which are comprised of Salvation Army Majors and Captains from across the United States. New York, Indiana, Iowa, Texas are among the states represented. The team works inside a trailer and goes outside to provide guidance and care. There are two large tents outside serving food, administrating spiritual aid and providing basic social services. AT&T technicians have just set up another wireless “hot spot”.

Each day starts and ends with prayer inside the trailer and June 15th was just like any other day since the devastating storm—a new day of hope, compassion and incredible stories.

Shortly after 1 p.m., I saw a mom and her two children come by our tent to eat. After several weeks of tending to her children’s needs, Mom tears up and reveals it’s her first good cry since the tornado hit her home. She would like assistance and Lindsay from our Social Services team takes her by the hand. Meanwhile her kids are tended to by two caseworkers. Earlier in the day, a man stopped by with a small box. Inside the box were dozens of photos of another family he did not recognize. He is dropping this box off at our Lost and Found Center. Then another God blessed story was shared: an 83 year old woman was reunited with her engagement ring. She had been married for 60 years and the ring was located by her real estate agent who was at her home helping her go through the debris.

Many generous friends in Missouri and in the U.S. have made thoughtful cash contributions. What we are doing in Joplin is what we do daily at corps in our communities we serve in St. Louis. Individuals, corporations and foundations who make gifts to our cause are not just friends in Joplin; we are so grateful to have thoughtful friends who can help us continue to make a positive impact during the upcoming 2011 Tree Of Lights campaign.

You may not be able to see what we do daily, yet our organization was built on a vision by William Booth in 1880 to “Do The Most Good” and thanks to your generosity, we will continue to provide important services to the Bi-State region.

Tom Kovach is the Midland Division’s Major Gifts Director and spent June 15 in Joplin.

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  • scott egan  On June 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Tom, great to see you working for the SA…saw you in a few pictures, but weren’t aware that you were the Major Gifts Director here like you were for KWMU….at least that side of the house will be well cared for!

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