JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - For every volunteer who fed and comforted victims of a deadly Joplin tornado, the community wants to say: "Thank you."
Cards from grateful residents will soon begin hitting the mailboxes of volunteers. There are estimates that about 110,000 people helped out after the May 22 twister killed 161 people and destroyed more than 7,000 residences.
The group Rebuild Joplin, which is coordinating with groups such as the city of Joplin and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release that hundreds from the community are helping to sign and mail the cards to registered volunteers. People who didn't register as volunteers can still get a card if they request one.
"We will forever be grateful to the thousands of volunteers that came to our community," Mark Rohr, the city manager said in a news release. "This project can help show our appreciation to those that came in our time of need."
Groups including churches, schools and businesses are helping to sign the cards. Joplin high school students were using Friday's lunch break to express thanks. This year, seniors and juniors are taking classes in a converted big-box store, while freshmen and sophomores are meeting in a building across town. The former high school was so badly damaged in the twister that it has to be rebuilt.
Several public card signing events also are planned, including at least a couple Tuesday when the city will mark the six-month anniversary of the disaster with a memorial service.
"This is one more way to say "thank you' to the thousands of people who have supported us," said Rob O'Brian, the president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, which played host to a signing event Friday.
Rebuild Joplin: https://rebuildjoplin.org/