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AmeriCorps releases statement on tornado anniversary

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Joplin, Mo. tornado, AmeriCorps today released the following statement from Acting CEO Mal Coles.

After the May 22, 2011, storm, more than 425 AmeriCorps members were deployed to the area to help the community rebuild, assisting more than 3,000 households and saving the city $17.7 million in disaster costs.

“Joplin will always have a special place in the heart of AmeriCorps. Even in its bleakest moments, the city opened its doors to our members and thousands of volunteers, welcoming them with open arms. While this made the hard work a little easier, it is ‘the miracle of the human spirit’ that carried this heartland city toward recovery.

The impact of Joplin’s recovery can be felt well beyond the Missouri borders. It changed lives. And it changed AmeriCorps. Our experience in Joplin taught us the importance of getting help immediately on the ground. It demonstrated the power of volunteers and the important need to have mobile teams of people ready to lend a hand. Those were lessons that were carried forward to help other communities impacted by disasters bounce back. The national service response in Joplin became our north star in designing a new disaster-focused AmeriCorps program, FEMA Corps. And perhaps most importantly, that vision helped many of the AmeriCorps members find their career calling — serving in emergency management roles, creating ripples of kindness for a generation.

The success of Joplin’s recovery is a testament to community. When we understand that, despite our differences, we share a common humanity with our neighbors we also cannot ignore their pain. For a moment, all of America was a part of this community – as we saw a tremendous outpouring of support for Joplin from across the country.

Joplin’s re-emergence is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we do it together. It is a story of strength and resilience in the face of destruction and tragedy. Most importantly, it is a story of hope. This lesson has never been more important that now. As a nation, we know we will emerge stronger from the other side of this pandemic, just as Joplin has from that devastating day 10 years ago.”

Learn more about the critical role that AmeriCorps played in helping set Joplin on the road to recovery in this blog post.

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