Day One - Joplin EMHE
We had the privilege of sitting down with the EMHE team, who up until now, we’d only spoken with in conference calls. They talked about the plan for the build and emphasized how important flexibility would be with a project of this magnitude, reviewed the dos & don’ts and gave us an impression of what to expect in the days to come. However, nothing really prepared us for what we’d see.
As we drove to the area where the houses would be built, the devastation left behind by May 22nd’s EF5 tornado was stunning. While the bulk of the debris had been carried away, there was still significant evidence of the storm’s destruction. Trees were sheared off; empty lots remained where homes once were; personal belongings could be seen strewn in fields; and, what looked like a war-torn structure, neighboring St. John’s Mercy Hospital, which had literally shifted from its foundation by the force of the storm, stood in ruins – an eerie reminder of that day.
However, amongst the damage there were signs of hope. Houses being rebuilt and repaired. New growth on trees that, like so many Joplin residents, though they suffered damage, were standing – firmly rooted. And then, there’s the wooden stars that stand in yards and along the streets – honoring those who perished that day and sending messages of love and support to the neighbors and loved ones left behind to start anew.
The town of Joplin has warmly welcomed us. The EMHE build is a sign of hope and new beginnings and the Ply Gem team is honored to play a part in building 7 homes for 7 families in 7 days.