Friday, May 27, 2011

Group rides out Joplin tornado inside LDS church building -

Photo courtesy of Carmen McIntyre Borup's Photos - Our Stake Center is Gone...

You may have heard of all the recent Tornado's, floods, and other natural disasters in the news. Here is a first hand account of 8 people who rode out the F5 Tornado in Joplin Mo.....while inside a Stake Center. The above photo shows tithing slips that are still in place....however the building was utterly destroyed around them.  If you don't think something big and 'scary' can't impact you......think again. 

Group rides out Joplin tornado inside LDS church building -

Also, see these first-hand photos from this Stake Center. (You will need to be logged into your facebook account to see these). If you were in this position, what would you have done? Preparedness is more than just having a few buckets of wheat in the is having a skill set that allows you to make good decisions 'when the time comes'.


LDSare said...

When I first heard of their Stake Center being destroyed, I'd considered what I'd have done in their situation. I think I'd have pulled a few racks of chairs/tables out from under the stage and taken refuge there. But now I'd like to know how did the stage floor fair? So I can evaluate my idea. Can anyone from the Joplin Wards report on that?
On the other hand, it may have come upon them so fast that ducking into the nearest bathroom was all the time they had.

The Little Red Hen said...

It would be great to hear from someone from that area to see if this would have been another option. Thank you for your comment!

Maggie's Momma said...

Those are my photos that are being used all over the web. When the tornado sirens went off, they only had a matter of minutes to decide what to do, and one of the people with them was a seven year old girl. They took refuge in a bathroom that you can see in one of my photos. It is right next to a water fountain in one where the hallway is still standing but not much else. When we went back to retrieve items a few days ago, we were able to find things on the stage, but all of the concrete blocks of the walls and the roof beams of the ceiling had collapsed on the stage. It was there under the debris, but I think that it would have probably been crushed under the weight (if it hadn't been) if not for the chairs and tables under it.

After the tornado, the survivors picked their way through a hallway and out another door past their mangled vehicles that were previously parked in the parking lot. The gym floor was completely covered in debris. I don't know that they could have gotten out and would have been trapped had they chosen the stage. One of the seminary students said that they were always instructed that the bathroom was the place to be in the case of a tornado, and they were protected there. In the church to the north whose steeple landed in the entry of the high school, at least five people died.

The Little Red Hen said...


Thank you for posting such thoughtful photos on the web. Our prayers are certainly with all of you in your area....and particularly with the families who have lost loved ones.

Thank you also for your comments. We all have the opportunity to learn and appreciate the benefit of your experience.

If you feel comfortable, please write us from time to time with comments, thoughts, and/or suggestions for others in regard to your experience. We would be very appreciative.

If there are specific things your folks are in need of, we would be happy to publish it here. Let me know.

May the Lord bless you all.

Maggie's Momma said...

I will do that, thank you. We appreciate your prayers. Right now, our city is a war zone, really, and we are in a unique situation with the stake center having been destroyed. Normally in such a disaster as soon as the church gets word that such a thing has happened plans are made and the stake center becomes headquarters. The stake center becomes a warehouse of sorts and the distribution center and ground zero, if you will, for all of the volunteers that stream into the effected area to help with the relief effort. Well, we have no stake center, and really, that was the first big hurdle, was finding a place to use as a staging area for the seemingly insurmountable task of putting our city back together.

It is difficult to tell people not to send things when you understand the desire to 'do' something. When you want to be 'boots on the ground' and you are at the point that there are very limited things that anyone can do, it is less that satisfying to say that the best thing right now is to donate to the humanitarian aid fund and earmark it for Joplin. With our time consumed in so many other places, there is no way to store, sort or distribute any donations that we receive. And the sad fact is that many of them won't be used.

There will come a time that stakes will organize and come to Joplin to aid in the clean up and rebuilding effort, but unfortunately, that time isn't now. It isn't safe, and the city can't dispose of the piles and piles of peoples' lives that are lying about. My fear is that when we do come to the point that we can accommodate help, that no one will remember Joplin.

LDSare said...

Thanks Lil,

Your insight about the stage is appreciated. If anything more about it can be learned as debris is removed, please add further.

I guess the bathroom with its mix of walls, partitions, entry maze and all, afford the best place for shelter. I am glad to here that everyone who seek shelter there survived. I have conducted such mental exercises in my mind, and hope the Lord has instilled in me what I'd need to do in an emergency.
My the Lord bless you all in your recovery efforts.

Maggie's Momma said...

Hello again. I have another set of pictures up. At this point, the stake center has been totally 'de-constructed', but this set was taken when the job was half done. I am sending you this link because the question was asked about the stage.

In the set of pictures that you will come to about in the middle, I stand in the middle of the gym on the wood floor. It was during a conversation with a friend of mine when she commented that all of the new church buildings will be carpeted that I realized that our gym was carpeted... The tornado ripped the carpet out of our gym. In subsequent pictures you can see carpet padding on the floor.

In photos of the stage the doors to the storage areas underneath are open and they are empty. The construction workers didn't empty those storage areas. There was nothing in them when they finally got to the stage. They might be in Kansas. Who knows?

At this point we are told that our stake center should be done by December of 2012. In an interesting twist of fate, we are meeting in the only building that we offered to us. There were many congregations that lost their churches, and many of the churches in Joplin opened their doors to them... but none to us. We had been meeting in a chapel 30-45 minutes away depending upon where in our ward you lived. Three weeks ago we had a meeting in our ward and the stake president spoke to us about a unique offer we had been approached with. Of all of the congregations in Joplin, the only one that had offered to share a building with us was the RLDS church. He was humbled and in tears, they are a small congregation here, and they had to go all the way to the top of their church to receive permission to do that. Their members are really excited about the opportunity to give us this service, and as a church that is normally on the giving end of the service, it is a humbling and great experience, I think. I will let you know how it all turns out.

Here is the link to the second set of pictures. If I can give you any more information, just let me know.

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