It's really tough being on this little rock out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and feeling so disconnected from home - especially in times of crisis. But the Internet and instant communication makes it a far different situation from when I was here forty years ago. Color photos of the catastrophic situation in Joplin are on all of the national news sites, and I am beginning to hear lots of personal stories through email.
My youngest son wrote and said that a boyhood friend of his had lost his house in the tornado, but the young man and his wife and kids were fine. That's what really counts.
My friend Brenda Kilby, a former reporter who lives south of Joplin near the rural community of Jane, Missouri, wrote about her daughter-in-law who was at work at St. John's Hospital on the second floor when the tornado did a direct hit on that nine-story structure. She said that had about a twenty-minute warning and managed to get to safety, but her daughter-in-law's car was destroyed in the parking lot.
Here is some more of what Brenda had to say about the horrific tornado that hit Joplin with 198 mph winds.
That was used without permission, but Brenda posts here frequently and I trust she won't mind. It is a better account than anything I read in the news on the Internet.
The latest death toll that I have seen in 116, but it sounds as though there are still a lot of downed buildings and rubble to be gone through.
I made a contribution to the Salvation Army on-line for Joplin, and truly wish that there was more that I could do. This event of nature is just so unbelievable!