|Image courtesy of Minot - Stars of Hope|
One of the most surprising results of the 2011 tornado that ripped through Joplin was the influx of volunteers who selflessly gave their time, energy, and resources to help the city in its recovery efforts. Since May 22, 2011, more than 90,000 people have traveled to Joplin to help us recover and rebuild in various ways. I think it is safe to say that without these volunteers we would never be as far along in the rebuilding process as we are. I think it is also safe to say that all of us here in Joplin are amazed and humbled by the many efforts provided by complete strangers to help us get back on our feet. I, for one, have witnessed the power of the human spirit in ways I never before imagined possible.
While we have voiced our appreciation numerous times and through various outlets, we realize the best way to show our appreciation is by “paying it forward” to other communities. Thus, the “Joplin ‘On Fire’ for Service” organization was born. This group is a grassroots service initiative sponsored by Missouri Southern State University’s Resource Development Center (RDC). The group promotes both national and local service platforms to help communities recover from natural disasters. This year they have partnered with the “New York Says Thank You Foundation” and its “Stars of Hope” project to bring volunteers to Minot, ND, to help with continued rebuilding efforts in that city after a flood in June of 2011 damaged more than 4,000 homes, several businesses, and three schools.
|City of Minot, ND (Wikipedia images)|
Minot boasts a population of around 40,000 and is home to an Air Force Base and Minot State University. Minot is situated about an hour south of the US/Canadian border and two hours north of Bismark, the state’s capital. The city also hosts a Scandinavian Heritage Center which displays artifacts and information about the area’s Scandinavian roots. The Mouse (Souris) River runs through the center of the “Magic City”, creating a scenic valley in the middle of flat prairie.
Last summer, about a month after the tornado ripped through Joplin and destroyed roughly a third of the city, the Souris River overtopped levees and forced residents of Minot to evacuate as flood waters overtook the city. The river crested at 1,561 feet above sea level – a mark not seen since 1881. Residents, National Guardsmen, and FEMA personnel have been working diligently to help rebuild the neighborhoods, businesses, and schools destroyed by the historic flood.
Citizens of Joplin are encouraged to show their support for this beautiful city by stopping by the “Stars of Hope – Minot” booth at this week’s Third Thursday event (August 16, 2012). They will be painting the first one hundred stars that will be taken to Minot when “Joplin ‘On Fire’ for Service” leads a local volunteer delegation to Minot on September 5, 2012.
“Joplin ‘On Fire’ for Service” continues to seek volunteers to accompany them to Minot as they pay forward the compassion witnessed by Joplin residents after the 2011 tornado. For more information, please contact MSSU's RDC at 417-659-5479. In addition to the Minot trip, “Joplin ‘On Fire’ for Service” also has several local volunteer opportunities available including a Habitat for Humanity project, Operation Goody Bag, and the Historic Murphysburg Project. Please feel free to contact them directly if you are interested in participating in any of these events.
Please be sure to look for their booth at Third Thursday and show your support for “Joplin ‘On Fire’ for Service” and the city of Minot!