As you may know, Joplin was recently hit by a devastating tornado. The campus was not in the path of the tornado, and we are grateful that students had already left for the summer. All of our personnel who live on campus are safe, as are all of our employees and their families. If you wish to register information or inquire about someone, Joplin has established a Well-check phone manned by Americorps: 417-659-5464.
Several employee families have lost their houses, as have some of our off-campus students. At this time, we know that the Cole, Davis, Eubanks, Hunter, Lazarus, Limkeman, Bill McCarty, Ty McCarty, Morrow, Piercy, Robertson, Rojas and Tepe homes were affected. We are currently available to house any OCC students, personnel and families who are displaced. Missouri Southern State University is working with the Red Cross to house other displaced persons.
We are also working with the Community Emergency Response Team as they concentrate on search and rescue at present. Our Multi-Purpose Building is being used as the headquarters for the Red Cross distribution efforts, as well as housing a FEMA response team.
Many have already inquired about financial donations to help in the wake of the storm. We are grateful for these generous offers, and we will post information on how best to make a financial contribution to the disaster relief as soon as possible.
For those interested in volunteering help, thank you also for your desire to be of assistance. Volunteer efforts in the city are still being coordinated, and here is important information for your consideration:
• The Community Emergency Response Team recognizes two groups of volunteers. Affiliated volunteers are professional responders such as firefighters, police, EMTs, etc. Unaffiliated volunteers are those who simply want to lend a helping hand in the cleanup efforts.
• All volunteers are required to first register at the Volunteer and Resource Reception Center at the Billingsley Student Center at Missouri Southern State University.
• After registering, unaffiliated volunteers are currently asked to be on standby and should not enter the affected areas of the city on their own. At this time, unaffiliated volunteers will only be called upon as needed.
• While official housing is available for the professional responders, there is no official housing for unaffiliated volunteers.
Please know that we here at Ozark are seeking to do everything we can to aid the responders and to help those in need. Please keep the entire Joplin community in your prayers, as many grieve the loss of loved ones and begin the process of recovery from this tragedy.