Page 8 - winter_11-12

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After the storm, surrounding communities and different
areas of the nation began to send supplies to families
in need.
“I took over the management of our donations and
distribution center,” said Flakne, who is principal of Royal
Heights Elementary School in Joplin. “Previous training
as an AmeriCorps director gave me some notion of the
organization that would be required in this disaster
situation. Within 36 hours we were a fully operational
distribution center with a gymnasium serving as
a warehouse.”
Stremel, who is a volunteer alumni coordinator for WWU
in the Joplin area, has worked at St. John’s Regional
Medical Center as a critical care nurse since 2007.
St. John’s suffered a direct hit from the F5 tornado,
and five patients died as a result.
Since Stremel was unable to work at the hospital in the
aftermath of the tornado, she became an active volunteer,
reaching out to those affected by the tornado, including
WWU alumni in the area.
“It’s silly, but every time someone shows up to help our
community, it makes you cry,” Stremel said. “Every day
something new happens. People keep stepping up more
and more.”
“It’s wonderful to have the support we do,” Flakne said, “and
to know people are thinking about us, even months later.”
She added, “I hadn’t pulled an ‘all-nighter’ for 20 years, so
I wasn’t sure this old body could take it, but, again, with
momentum and energy fueled from helping a bigger
purpose, it became easier.”
From 8 p.m. Thursday until 2 a.m. Friday, the Davis mother
and daughter team worked on various projects to help with
Extreme Makeover and returned to Fulton the next day for
a full day’s work.
“The most exciting part was during the last minutes of our shift
when Whitney and I just walked up and down the street of the
houses and watched the people working together with such
purpose and energy.” Davis said.
Working such long hours often requires huge amounts of
caffeine, so
Kelly Beahon Keller
, MBA ’05, suggested that
Starbucks help out during the Extreme Makeover. She and
Starbucks employees from all over the state went to Joplin to
work in shifts to provide coffee to all the workers and
volunteers 24/7.
“The experience was overwhelming and unforgettable.
The town and people of Joplin are amazing in their strength,”
Keller said.
William Woods University has many alumni living in the Joplin
Jill Flakne
, M.Ed. ’03, and
Kristen Trenary Stremel
are two who have been directly involved in the
recovery efforts.
One of the new homes
Kelly Beahon Keller
Shelly gets camera time with Ty Pennington, the show's host.