Wanted to share this email update we just received from our friends at Special Olympics Missouri. Needless to say our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of devastation and loss. I hope everyone who reads this can share your message of support by commenting here, sending letters to the address included, posting on their Facebook wall, Tweeting them, or in your own unique creative way just offering any support you can to them in this difficult time.
Thank you to each of you who have reached out to us with words of comfort, encouragement and offers of support. This last week has been one of much grief as so much has been lost in the devastating tornado in Joplin. The outpouring of love we have felt from you is comforting and so appreciated.
Sadly, we lost three very special men. Tripp Miller, Rick Fox and Mark Farmer were lifelong friends and had been SOMO athletes for decades. The three men lived in their own home and took great joy in being Special Olympics Athletes. All three had bowled in our state tournament last November which was held in Joplin. At Tripp’s funeral they shared the story that upon being found in the rubble of what was left of his home, he greeted his first rescuer with a huge smile, and said, “thank you.” Those were his last words. Read more about Tripp.
Fortunately, no one was working on the evening of the tornado. This picture is what is left of our office. At this point we are not expecting to recover anything. Thanks to the kindness of a board member our office will find a temporary home. If you wish to send a note of encouragement to our area, you may mail to:
Special Olympics Missouri
Attn: Robin Anderson, SW Area
1001 Diamond Ridge, Suite 800
Jefferson City, MO 65109
WHAT WE NEED
Many of our athletes are displaced from their homes. At this time support in Joplin is overwhelming. Food and clothing are being provided to anyone who needs those items. What our athletes need most are gift cards which can be used to purchase the everyday things that are needed for a home. Those may be mailed to the address above.
Initial plans are being made for a memorial golf tournament and Pro-Am to be held in Joplin in the fall. Proceeds from this event will be split between our Joplin relief efforts and the Special Olympics Disaster Recovery Relief Fund. More information will be forthcoming.
Only three days after this tornado we hosted our State Summer Games less than 70 miles from Joplin. Volunteers were dropping out, teams were dropping and frankly, our hearts were almost too heavy to go forward. So many of you reached out in our time of need. Special thanks to Special Olympics programs in Illinois, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska who got in their cars and showed up to provide physical and emotional support. To each of you who have called, emailed and offered support, we are so thankful.