Joplin Missouri Tornado

Distance: 100.1 miles
Time: 5:24
Average Watts: 166 watts
Normative Power: 188 watts
Average Heart Rate: 143 bpm
Total Work: 3,234 kJ
Average Speed: 18.4 mph

This was a solo effort on Saturday. I know this post is almost a week late — but I went to southeast Kansas to visit my family. The good and bad thing is I have been off the bike for almost a week now. The bad thing is I have come down with a pretty nasty head cold. I usually train with a head cold if the congestion isn’t in my chest, but this cold just feels different. I have a pretty solid fever — as soon as it breaks I will get back on the bike. I am sort of hoping it is tomorrow, but with these things you just never know. It will be nice to get out and ride. I really need some time to think and just be on the bike.

Joplin Missouri Tornado

My family all hails from the very corner of southeast Kansas in and around a tiny little town called Pittsburg. It is a great little town, and I can see how people who are born there never want to leave. The town of Joplin Missouri is about 30 miles away and since we were in the area, we decided we would take the short drive over and see first hand the devastation that occurred because of the huge F5 tornado that hit the town on May 22nd.

Before you get into the pictures, know these are shots we took of the homes and businesses in the area. There is no way a picture can communicate the sense of loss that would weigh on you if your home was destroyed. The reason I am publishing these photos is to help you guys understand in a small way some of the emotion that would accompany the destruction of your home and in some cases, your family. There were a lot of people who died because of the tornado — right now the death toll still stands at 153 people from what I have found.

But with each story of devastation and heart break that comes out of this event, there are stories of survival. My Grandma Russell was in the hospital in Pittsburg Kansas and ended up sharing a room with a little old lady (my Grandma is 92) who was trapped under the rubble of her home and was rescued by a Search & Rescue Team. Grandma said she had relatives from Cincinnati who came and took her back East, which means she is one of the lucky survivors — she had a place to go and family to be with her. Of course Grandma would also throw in about every 60 seconds or so that she talked every minute that she was awake, but I would suspect that after being buried alive, you would want to have that human connection with someone.

The physical damage this tornado imposed on the town was incredible. One of the tallest buildings in town — St. John’s Hospital — was moved 18″ on its foundation according to my other Grandma. Think of the power that would have to be generated to do that. We are talking moving tons and tons of concrete and steel 18″ in the ground where it has sat for a long time.

Here are some of the images we took…

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This is a strip mall in Joplin Missouri. This building wasn't even directly hit by the tornado.

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Here Old Glory flies above the mayhem and destruction. Seeing this live made me feel proud to know our Country stands behind the people of Joplin.

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Lots of business have been destroyed -- Red Wings Shoes relocated to another location.

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Look at the center of this picture -- the volunteers have certainly lifted a heavy burden for the people of Joplin.

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Some things defy all logic -- why is this home still standing when all others around it have been reduced to rubble?

There are lots of opinions on the net webs about the strength it will require for the people of Joplin to rebuild and recover, so I will not editorialize on that subject. All I will say is witnessing the devastation first hand was an amazing experience that will not leave me anytime soon. It was humbling to be there and know that so many people in those homes had died in the places where they felt most secure. I try and not get too religious on this blog because I feel spirituality is a very private affair. But in this case, I am sure most if not all of you would agree with me when I say, God bless the people of Joplin in their efforts to rebuild.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...