Joplin Pays It Forward: Community Leaders Share Our Recovery Lessons

20 Apr



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Joplin, Missouri was the site of one of the deadliest tornados in U.S. history on May 22, 2011. This collection of essays by community leaders tells the story of Joplin’s resilience and recovery. The men and women who led recovery efforts across every sector of the community recount what they learned in the process and the advice they would give to a leader in a similar position in another impacted community. Rich Serino, Deputy Director of FEMA, says in his foreword, “The collection of stories in Joplin Pays It Forward provides us insight into Joplin’s incredible journey to rebuild in the wake of mass devastation. Among its many inspiring lessons, the stories tell us how Joplin was able to live up to its promise to re-open completely destroyed schools by the start of the school year; how Joplin worked with a state university to provide shelter, a surge medical clinic, and a volunteer coordination point; and how Joplin was able to coordinate the thousands of volunteers that flooded in to provide support. The authors of these chapters represent every facet of the community— from state and local officials, to volunteers, to the private sector. Because this book is so crosscutting, providing diverse perspectives and aspects of Joplin’s recovery, there is a lesson for everyone. Whether a novice volunteer or a veteran emergency manager, we can all learn from Joplin’s experience.” Jane Cage, chairman of the Joplin Citizens Advisory Team (CART), compiled and collected these essays as a way for the Joplin community to pay it forward in recognition of the almost 200,000 volunteers that came to help their city in the two years since the devastating tornado.

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