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Lovell Chronicle
Lovell , Wyoming
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October 27, 2011     Lovell Chronicle
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October 27, 2011
 

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October 27, 2011 I The Lovell Chronicle I 15 A Lovell native says 'thank you' from Joplin Dear Friends: When I saw the complete destruction left by the EF5 tornado that hit my current home- town of Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, I won- dered, "Where do we even start and how can this possibly ever be OK?" 160 people lost their lives, 1,000 more injured, 7,000 homes de- stroyed, 18,000 vehicles totaled, Joplin High School and five other school buildings destroyed with seven badly damaged. 450 businesses lev- eled, including doctors, dentists and other sup- port service offices, as well as St. John's Hospi- tal, these businesses employing a total of almost 5,000 people. Joplin certainly will never be the same again, but in the midst of tragedy I have learned much. The most evident truth I learned was there are many more good and generous people in the world than I ever thought possible. Near mid- night the night of the tornado, I stood in a park- ing lot while my husband worked to repair two flat tires acquired driving through rubble in the streets. I was stunned at the volume of police cars, ambulances, heavy equipment, press vans and fire trucks that went by in a constant stream toward the destruction. The sound of sirens continued for days. Most of these vehicles were from out of town. Helicop- ters streamed overhead, people walking by went out of their way to see if we needed help and to tell their story. One of my first conversations with my mother after the tornado consisted of her telling me of many offers of help and assis- tance from the people of Lovell in the form of food, quilts, clothing, household items, offers to cover the expense of care package postage and money. Overnight, Joplin became a bizarre camp of tents (and outhouses) -- tents for the wound- ed, tents for counseling, lost and found, infor- mation, clothing, sanitation and hygiene prod- ucts, pretty much anything you needed could be found in a tent. Our local radio station sus- pended regular programming for about three weeks and became an information center as people tried to locate friends, neighbors and loved ones. They kept us updated on available services, new locations of physicians, hous- ing opportunities, lost and found pets, cur- few times, weather, safety updates and count- less bits of information. Barbeque grills sprung up in parking lots across the whole city, feeding anyone who came at no charge. Restaurants opened their doors and gave away what they had. One Saturday as we were helping clean up, we stopped at a food tent of a church group who came from six hours away and had prepared and donated quality hot food. Organizations and individuals donated food for weeks. Church groups from all over the nation came and set up their command centers in parking lots. The Red Cross and other organi- zations drove up and down the streets, distrib- uting meals to volunteers and those who still had homes, but no electricity. My favorite was the man who sangcheerful songs over the loud- COURTESY PHOTOS Tawny Bischoff Kemp works with a pile of care packages that arrived from north Big Horn County to help the people of Joplin, Mo. People from all over the United States contributed to the relief effort after a tornado devastated Joplin in May. speaker of his vehicle in between calling out for people to come get some food. Many pickups and vans were loaded with cold bottled water and sports drinks and brought it to those help- ing. Speaking to people working alongside me, I discovered college students choosing to devote their summer to help clear debris, families giv- ing up vacations to serve, young people choosing to work instead of play and even more amaz- ing working alongside those who lost their own homes who were cheerfully helping others expe- riencing the same loss. I learned that loss gives perspective, that when you boil it down we all value our families and loved ones exponentially more than our "pos- sessions." I was reminded again of the fragility of life. The children your children played with today could be gone tomorrow. The cross word spoken to another causes deep regret, and a city block can mean the difference between life and death. The teenager you didn't think much of the day before has become a hero. The person at the store who you have never met is willing to sacri- fice their life to make sure you reach safety. As people connected with my children in various areas of the country expressed a desire to help, boxes of relief items began to appear on my doorstep. There were days when my entire front door was blocked. Two rooms of my house were filled with items from which we assembled care packages for those who needed help. Many of the packages on my doorstep had a return ad- dress of Lovell, Wyoming. Among the most appreciated items were the quilts that were sent. They have been dis- The May 22 tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., left the community a twisted mass of destruction. not understand -- who insisted on taking their new blankets with them everywhere in the days that followed, to a family who lost their son who was on his way home from his high school grad- uation, to a family with two little girls who lost their home and are now our new neighbors, to families who relocated to other states, neighbor- ing communities and elsewhere in Missouri; to a man who clung to the hand of his son in the hallway of their home as the tornado lifted his son and threatened to tear him from his grasp, tributed to people whq lost their homes, to those to a woman who spent three weeks following the who sheltered aad::.e.:stl_leLtenng0, ; ::ado re.covering in a hospital, totwo children to children who lost their playmates and do whose mother lost her life as she escorted some- one else to safety. There have been both smiles and tears as quilts and other thoughtful items sent from Lovell and other locations were distributed. Do- nations of money from Lovell helped a Joplin woman battling cancer make a needed trip to the Mayo Clinic. She received the needed help and her future looks good. A group of young women in Hawaii learned to make jam from guava and sent 48 jars to a group of Joplin young women who enjoyed it on biscuits at their church sum- mer camp. A high school student body president from Gunnison, Utah, helped in the clean-up ef- forts for a week and, upon returning home, or- ganized donations of school supplies to help the students of Joplin High School. From hearing the accounts of others, I know this same gener- ous giving was repeated countless times across the city. Our community is doing well. Little by lit- tle, stores and restaurants are being rebuilt, with chain stores moving quicker than most of the privately held business. Doctor offices have been relocated. I had my first experience go- ing to my dentist in a trailer, who had not only lost his business but his home. Schools are back in session, the buildings spared taking in the children whose school was destroyed. The high school is split now, half attending at the mall in a revamped ShopKo building, the oth- er half in with a middle school. The hospital has dismantled most of their MASH units into mobile but more permanent structures. Plans to rebuild are in the works. Many churches were destroyed, including ours. People of other faiths have made room for other congregations in their buildings, putting aside differences to extend kindness. While most of the affected area is bare and empty now that much of the debris is cleared, it seems new houses are being started every day. One high school senior in Joplin established a non-profit organization collecting 3,000 white dogwood trees (the Missouri state tree), that have been distributed across the damaged areas of the city. They will be beautiful. My faith in humanity has been strength- ened. You have been a part of that, and I am thankful for you and for all who have donated. I never expected to be involved in a major natu- ral disaster. Today, a friend of ours said, "The tornado was not cool, but look what it has done for us." He is right. Since May 22, and for some time to come, our lives will straddle the line between turbulence and order. I believe order will win. We are stronger and better for the ex- perience. In the Joplin community, beauty has indeed risen from the ashes. Russ and I will forever be grateful for your kindness. Sincerely, Tawny Bischoff Kemp Editor's note:Tawny Bischoff Kemp is the oldest daughter of Gary and Dolores Bischoff of Lovell. She is a 1980 graduate of Lovell High School. She and. her husbls.s, have four children (three  gil'l'd aqatid two granddaughters. The Kemps havin Joplin since 1993. NWC Employee Powell, Wyo. I started working as a custodian at NWC in 1985. I knew al positions on campus. I give back part of every paycheck to the NWC Foundation because it helps give others oppor- tunities to do more than they thought they could. That's why Northwest matters to me. *Val Is one of 107 NWC employees who donate each month to the NWC Foundation throush payroll deduction. :!ViS?!iiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiii!iiiii i'%  i::!( i i  ,,:,, ,,,; ...................... ii!!iiiii!iiiiiii!iiiiii!iii!iiiiiii!!iiiii iiiiiiii!iii!iiiiii!iiiii!!iiiiii!iii!ii!iiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiii! i!!i!iiiiiiiiili!ii!i:!iii!iiiiii:!iii!!iii!!iiiii!i!:iiii!!?!ii!iilili iiiiii!ii!i!!iiiii:iiii!!ii'ii!!iiiiii!iiiiiiiii!i!iiiiiiiiiiii! how to c, ean and, th,s sk,,, to he,p support my ily. I didn't think there were any other career options until I ii i came to Northwest. Everyone here encourages you to dream about your future and to take the steps to get there. That's what l did. I enrolled in a class or two each semester. Now I ii i have a degree and a lob in one of the highest-level secretari- !ii!iliiqi!ii!iiii!iiiii!iiiiii!iiiii!iiiii!iiii!!ii!iiiiiii!il iiiiiiiii!ili!i!iiiiii:i!ii!!iii!i:iiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiii!iii!iiiiiiii!i !iiiiii!iiiili!!!!ii!!iiiii!ii!!!iii!iii!i!iiii00!!00ili00i!iii!iii!!!i!:i!i !iiiiiiiiiili!iiiiiiii!iiiiii!i!!iii!ili!!!iiiiiii!ii!iiii!iiiiii!ii!ili ili!i!iii!iiiiili!i!iiiiiiiii!i!iiii!iii!!iiiii:!!i,lii!iiiiii I consider every student at Riverside as "my kid." I'm so proud all 15 of my 2.011 seniors are now in college. Thanks to NWC Foundation Scholarships, 12. of those 15 are at Northwest, which makes me even happier. When "my kids" go out Into the world, I worry about them. When they go to Northwest, I don't worry as much because they already know a friendly face or two before they ever get to campus. That's why Northwest matters to me. Guidance Counselor at Riverside Hlgh School, Basln, Wyo. iiiiii!i!iiiii!iiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiii!iiii This is one job only we can handle. A downed power line can energize trees, fences, even the ground around it - so whatever you do, never approach a downed line. Stay away, keep others away and call us at 888-221-7070 or dial 9 I I. There are thousands of volts flowing through these lines, so please remember to be safe and keep your distance. Visit rockymountainpower.net/safety ROCKY MOUNTAIN for more information. r POWER Let's turn the answers on.