WWU helps Extreme Makeover in Joplin
|11/22/2011||Mary Ann Beahon|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||(573) 592-1127|
By Leigh Rice ’14
During the holidays, students, faculty, staff and alumni of William Woods University are counting their blessings after traveling to Joplin to help rebuild the town that suffered from a devastating tornado last spring. Many joined Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in Joplin during October while others went with the WWU art club in November to conduct an art therapy session with residents.
On May 22, a three-quarter-mile-wide tornado, among the deadliest in the nation’s history, struck Joplin, Mo. It crushed nearly a third of the city and left 161 people dead and 7,000 homes destroyed. Labeled as the deadliest single tornado in more than half a century, the Joplin tornado caused the highest death toll from a single tornado in more than 50 years.
In August, ABC’s Emmy Award winning reality TV show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, announced the show’s plan to build “seven homes in seven days” in Joplin. It is one of the largest in the history of the television program that is now entering its ninth season. The episode featuring the Joplin rebuild will mark the show’s historic 200th episode.
An estimated 14,000 volunteers, including members of Alpha Phi sorority and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at WWU, helping the Extreme Makeover crew reconstruct homes for citizens in the Joplin community.
“Community service is a big part of both Pike and Phi’s chapter goals,” said Kathleen Carron of Alpha Phi. “When we learned we had the chance to reach out on a bigger scale, we were pumped.”
"The trip to Joplin was a true eye-opening experience for the men of Pi Kappa Alpha,” said William Wallace, chapter president. “It was unbelievable to see the damage and destruction caused by the tornado. It was a very great feeling to know that we were helping this community rebuild and regain their happiness."
Michael Brown, a Pike, said, “Just seeing what the town looked like after the tornado went through so many months ago was crazy. There is still a lot of work to be done to help rebuild the neighborhood we were in and to see all the people willing to go down to Joplin and help was awesome.”
Another Pike, Matthew Brumit, said, “It was amazing to see the vast damage the tornado had created and then see a sea of blue shirts working and helping rebuild that community. It’s one thing to throw money at a problem or cause, but when you go down and do the work yourself, the feeling of really helping increases tenfold.”
Knowing fraternity brothers and friends who lived in and around Joplin motivated Brumit to get involved, “I wanted to help a community that was near to my heart and needed my help.”
Brumit encourages others to get involved. “Everyone is more than appreciative of the smallest efforts. Find a way to help. Any little part that you can play in the larger picture of the situation is important.”
While in Joplin, some students worked in the park building a playground and a sitting area. Others helped with painting, sweeping, picking up trash, hanging wallpaper and landscaping.
“Most of our time was spent doing little jobs, but it's the lit