The stories of courage, heroism and resilience will be included in large story boards to be erected in an area of Cunningham Park. Joplin’s Butterfly Garden and Overlook will be located in the park's northwest section, within three lots the city purchased following the tornado.
With more than half-a-million dollars from the private non-profit TKF Foundation and Walmart, teams will examine how planning and stewardship of open spaces can help communities and individuals recover from tragedy. Researchers will study the role of open spaces in recovery in both Joplin from the tornado and in the New York City area from Hurricane Sandy. The Landscapes of Resilience Team is made up of a diverse set or organizations that include Drury University, Cornell University, The U.S. Forest Service, Forest Releaf of Missouri, the City of Joplin Parks and Recreation, Till Design in New Jersey, and Great River Associates in Springfield.
We would be honored to hear and record stories from as many people as are willing to tell them, from Joplin residents to first responders and other emergency personnel,” said Peter Meidlinger, Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies and professor of English at Drury. “We don’t want the process to hinder them, so we will have several technologies available to take their information. We can record a personal story, download written documents, scan photographs or photograph various elements they may want to share. By having these different methods available, we hope to capture as many stories as we can that day."
Meidlinger and students have already heard several incredible stories and hope others would be willing to share theirs. “We’ve all been moved by the stories in more ways than we could imagine—moved by ordinary people doing extraordinary things; by vivid and harrowing accounts of the storm; by the emotional resilience and spiritual wisdom people have discovered in themselves, and by the ongoing struggle to come to terms with loss. We hope our efforts help to preserve this story for generations to come," Meidlinger said.
Those unable to meet with the Drury students in person are encouraged to send their stories via e-mail here.