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Tornado relief a success for House of Prayer

June 24, 2011

Reverend Tony Stoddart, of the Christian Life Center in Joplin, talks with a volunteer relief worker.

PLYMOUTH — After spending six days outside Wal-Mart collecting donations for Joplin tornado victims, Dan Thornburg, youth pastor for House of Prayer church, was ready to hit the road.
“We loaded the truck by 1:30 a.m. (Friday, June 3) and left around 3:30 a.m.,” said Thornburg.
At this point, Thornburg was grateful to have a truck at all—the one he had lined up earlier for the trip had fallen through at the last minute. After hurried media coverage and offers from four different companies, Brian McIntire of McIntire Trucking Company in Argos provided a truck for the trip. McIntire also joined the team, making the trip to Joplin with the House of Prayer group.
“I want to say thank you to McIntire Trucking Company,” said Thornburg. “The McIntire's came through for us.”
The small but determined group, which included Thornburg's 1-year-old twins and 4-year-old, were ready to begin the nearly 12 hour drive to Joplin. The truck and trailer was packed with donated supplies from the community, as well as soap, shampoo, bedding and towels donated by Swan Lake. Bowen Printing and Johnson-Danielson Funeral home also contributed to the trip.
“It's amazing how many people that said, 'we wanted to give but we didn't know where to give,'” said Thornburg, noting that collecting items outside Wal-Mart was a success.
They traveled to the Christian Life Center in Joplin, where they dropped off their supplies and stayed until Saturday to cook a meal for other volunteers.
“We cooked for over 400 people,” said Thornburg. “People were coming in by the busloads just to help—to help clean up.”
The heat, according to Thornburg, was one of the most difficult parts of helping with cleanup.
“People are in direct heat,” Thornburg said. “Just in the shade it hit 94 degrees. If your'e in the sun and the humidity, my goodness, it gets warm.”
Thornburg commented that the destruction he saw in the city was surprising—flattened houses sat right across the street from houses that only had minimal damage.
“If you look at the Joplin, (the tornado) went right through the heart of Joplin,” said Thornburg. “Pictures just don't do it justice.”
The people of Joplin were amazed by how many people had come to help, said Thornburg, and very appreciative of everything the volunteers had to give.
“People wrote, 'God saved us' on their houses,” said Thornburg. “In the midst of people who have lost everything, deep inside, they still have hope.”

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