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Pastor: Joplin’s disaster recovery still faces major hurdles

Keynote address given at Prayer Breakfast

Pastor Randy Gariss, of Joplin’s College Heights Christian Church, center left, and his wife, Julie Gariss, right, greet well-wishers following the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Pastor Randy Gariss, of Joplin’s College Heights Christian Church, center left, and his wife, Julie Gariss, right, greet well-wishers following the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. Photo by Kelley McCall.

It’s been 71⁄2 months since that tornado ripped through the middle of Joplin, killing 162 people and destroying hundreds of businesses and more than 7,000 homes and apartments.

“There is an emotional scar that comes out of certain experiences, that are just almost impossible to articulate,” said Pastor Randy Gariss of Joplin’s College Heights Christian Church.

And the area’s leaders are bracing for some deeper troubles that may occur around and after the first anniversary of the May 22 killer storm.

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“People can tough out a lot of these emotional things,” Gariss told reporters Thursday morning, after delivering the keynote message to the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. “Some will go get help. Others just mask it.

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