Tag Archives: 2012

Hope grows in the shadows

By: Danni Eickenhorst

The Joplin Memorial and newly constructed Cunningham Park are prepared for Joplin’s anniversary events and Day of Unity, in the shadow of the remains of St. John’s hospital.

Today, I arrived in Joplin at a pivotal point in both the city’s and my own healing process following the Joplin tornado, an event that radically changed the lives of thousands in the span of 32 minutes.

I haven’t been in Joplin, minus a very short trip recently, and really toured the damage since August, when I worked on a film for The Salvation Army. On my last trip of any length here, the town had not yet officially begun it’s rebuilding process, as they were only then issuing building permits – but save for a few renegade or priority projects, the landscape was still rather barren, and still dotted with prominent signs of destruction.

Tomorrow, the City of Joplin is hosting a Day of Unity event, and I encourage all those who have a tie to the work in Joplin to attend. Residents, first responders, volunteers alike will stand to benefit from seeing this town in a better state, and the hope that is beginning to grow in the shadows of the bits of destruction that still stand.

Starting at 2:00 p.m., we will depart 20th & Duquesne and walk the path of the tornado, finally ending our journey at 5:15 at Cunningham Park for festivities and an official remembrance at 5:41 p.m., the time the tornado struck last year, changing everything.

As every good reporter does, I previewed my path in advance today and ended my drive at Cunningham Park. I won’t lie and say that things are just as they were before the storm. In fact, I don’t know what Joplin was like before the storm firsthand, though I’ve heard many times of the beautiful tree-lined streets.

The town is still very sparse and there are still many signs of destruction, but there is also a real tangible hope in these people and in this town. Businesses are starting to rebuild and it appears that people have not abandoned this community as we once feared.

On the eve of tomorrow’s events, those that did leave town are returning to make their peace. I sat at the memorial constructed at Cunningham Park, in the shadows of St. John’s Hospital, which still stands in much the same condition I first found it.Sitting there in the park, I watched people trickle in, say prayers and consider what the day meant to them.

In the year since I first arrived in this town, The Salvation Army and other organizations have united to do such good for this community, and it’s with excitement that I await tomorrow’s events. It’s with an eye to the future and a heart for celebrating the many impossible odds they’ve overcome that the City of Joplin will recognize this day.

Tonight, I heard President Obama and Governor Jay Nixon speak at the Joplin High School Commencement Ceremony, and there I heard speaker after speaker share stories of tragedy and triumph.

Governor Nixon said, “Every day the sun sets on a new Joplin, and rises on a better place,” and this, above all the many inspiring speeches heard tonight best embodied what I see in this town. President Obama said, “Some of the bonds that are strongest in life are the ones we forget when all around us seems to be broken.”

I look forward to tomorrow – to the ceremonies of celebration and triumph in the shadows of the ruins of St. John’s hospital, and the good things to come for this great town.

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A cup of cold water in Jesus’ name

NEW YEAR, NEW HOPE, NEW CHALLENGES: A Blog Series

By: Tom Kovach, Major Gifts Director

And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.  Matthew 10:42

Energizer employees help build a playground at The Salvation Army's Temple Community Center.

The sounds of laughter and the look of raw emotions on faces is filling the rooms inside a Salvation Army Education and Community Center as children and adults rejoice in the Lord’s blessing and the fellowship of each other. Smiles abound for some, tears of sadness or even joy for others or the journey to a new beginning starts today.   Stories are shared.  Prayers are abundant and many turn to The Salvation Army for hope.  These God-filled activities are repeated daily at our centers from South County to North City, Midtown to Overland and Maplewood to South City.

The Salvation Army takes tremendous pride in serving clients because we stress the importance of our fiduciary role.  Eighty two cents of each dollar contributed is spent for programs and services. The cornerstone of The Salvation Army includes a quality staff ready to serve the needs of these clients yet our demands our growing.  Much like a play or a movie, there are numerous, important supporting roles that play a vital role to helping change lives.

And that’s why you and your colleagues inside your company can help.  Our promise to you is simple: you will make a difference. 

No matter where you work or live, between your commutes from one destination to another, we are looking for volunteers from companies in St. Louis at any of our Salvation Army Community Centers.  I encourage you to get involved as an individual, your family or gather up a group of volunteers from your company.   Donating your time can be range from serving Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to the following:

  • Have numerous office supplies like pens, pencils, notepads, markers etc?  Donate them to The Salvation Army.  Our Temple and Euclid Corps have existing partnerships with the St. Louis Public Schools for instance.
  • At our Family Haven shelter, there are 20 rooms where women and children rest comfortably as they seek permanent housing. These clients stay in a room for several months. We are consistently looking for laundry detergent and cleaning supplies.
  • Clients come to us when they are seeking some form of counseling.  At times, these counseling sessions are designated for a parent(s) and because they can’t afford childcare, we are looking for volunteers to watch their children for an hour or so.  (All mandatory background checks are required for childcare). 
  • Instead of receiving gifts for a birthday or a special occasion, request monetary contributions be directed to The Salvation Army or ask friends/family to buy certain items. Each of our centers has a “Wish List” that we can provide for you.

    Ameren employees donated more than 400 hours in 2011 to bellring for The Salvation Army.

Help us help others!  Consider “Doing The Most Good” in 2012 and start the New Year off right with a thoughtful donation and volunteer.

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