Joplin Residents Celebrate Neighborhood Recovery

Joplin Residents Celebrate Neighborhood Recovery

One of the major factors in Joplin’s recovery is the hundreds of thousands of volunteers. City officials say more than 1.5 million hours of service have been completed, an incredible feat that several organizations celebrate today at “neighborhoods of recovery.”

After the devastation of the storm, many residents say they just wanted to see Joplin built back like it had been.

“We lost a lot, we lost schools, we lost churches, we lost our homes all we wanted was normal back again,” says Joplin resident Anita Stokes.

Stokes is pleased to see progress in Joplin’s neighborhoods. She lost her home in the storm and was thrilled when she was selected to receive a home from Habitat from Humanity.

“When I first got the key and I walked in, I just cried, I just could not believe, it was just wonderful. I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was,” says Stokes.

The non-profit organization has been a fixture in the community, working towards rebuilding Joplin.

“It’s just that good feeling of driving down the streets, it’s not a house here and a house there and blank in between, you see the neighborhoods, the neighborhoods have come back, you see people out on their front porch, you see kids out in the yard,” says Barbie Huff with Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity.

3,500 homes were destroyed in the tornado, displacing more than 9,000 families. In the past 5 years Habitat for Humanity has rebuilt 105 homes, 82 of which are in the tornado zone.

“It’s just been amazing, all the people that have come to help us along the way, we couldn’t have done any of this without all the volunteers coming in and the donors stepping up,” says Huff.

Many of those volunteers return to mark the 5 year anniversary, like those from Samaritan’s Purse and Convoy of Hope, now giving home owners like Stokes another opportunity to say thanks.

“You don’t know how much joy our house, how much we really appreciate the help building the house,” says Stokes.

Five years after the fact celebrating progress and a new normal.

Joplin Proud encourages residents looking to view the progress made, to go on a self-guided tour. It is walkable and drive-able and a map is available at: