Joplin residents share their stories

This fall, 17 more Joplin residents are expected to attend MU.
Courtesy of sophomore Morgan Adrian

According to the MU Provost’s office, 69 MU students are from Joplin. Next year, this number will increase by 17.

A tornado flattened six miles of the city running east to west, leaving damaged trees and houses in its path, some completely gone.

MU sophomore Coleman Bandy was about 20 minutes away from the touchdown site when the tornado hit.

"My dad is actually the weather man," Bandy said. "We were actually at a family function at my grandma's house. He was sent out to the television station about an hour before the storms hit."

Bandy said they were watching the local news when the tornado was on its way.

"The television station actually stopped for a while,” he said. “About an hour after it hit, we found out my dad was OK and started hearing about how bad the damage was."

The full scope of the damage didn't hit him until Tuesday while at a news conference near the center of the damage.

"It didn't look like the town I grew up in,” he said. “There's the hospital. That's the hospital I was born in. You can stand there and get a 360 view, and it's just destruction.”

Bandy's home did not sustain damage.

Sophomore Morgan Adrian was in Kansas City when she heard the reports about the tornado.

"Right after it hit Joplin, it was impossible to talk," she said. "(My mom) wanted to save her battery. The service was awful. I didn't get to talk to her until I saw her when I got there."

Adrian left Kansas City when she found out their home had been destroyed, though none of her family members were injured.

"There's so much debris," she said. "So many roads are closed. My main concern was getting home to my family. Around my neighborhood, there were power lines down. It looks like a scary movie."

She said a trampoline, which had been in her backyard, was found 12 blocks away, wrapped around a tree. The top level of their home was destroyed and furniture was scattered about the yard.

The storm's death toll is at 122, and with many residents still unaccounted for, it is expected to rise.

Bandy's high school friend and tennis teammate is still among those missing. Will Norton was driving home from his graduation when he was sucked through the sunroof of his car. His father was driving in another car behind him and was found still in the car with a broken bone and a few blows to his head, Bandy said.

But, with the overwhelming amount of support from communities near and far, Bandy said that even though it could take years for Joplin to get back on it's feet, the help is welcomed.

"A lot of the help that's been coming is just people that want to help and see the town get better,” he said. “That's very inspiring I think."

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