Joplin's hearts are with our East Coast neighbors

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Two hundred lineman left Joplin two weeks ago, bound for the East Coast. A team of 30 city leaders stand ready to assist when they get a call. Our churches collected clothing and food for hurricane victims. Volunteers were organizing, and many headed east.

But the real strength will be found within those living in the storm-damaged cities and villages. Federal response is required, but so is a strong sense of local leadership. Those leaders won’t necessarily represent government. They will be schoolteachers, doctors, preachers, rabbis and priests. They will be the kid next door or the senior citizen down the street. Strong convictions and strong hands will be needed in the coming months.

Almost a year and half since 161 lives were lost in Joplin, we still mourn. But homes and businesses are coming back strong, and just last week a family was reunited with their beloved pet. Even the smallest of miracles are welcome ones here in our town.

I wish I could tell the Heralds’ readers that their lives will return to normal. For many, that won’t happen. How can it when lives have been destroyed and layers of history washed away? But, day by day, the despair turns to resolve.

And with resolve come results. East Coast neighbors, Joplin’s thoughts and prayers are with you.

Carol Stark is editor of the Joplin Globe. One member of her newsroom was killed on May 22, 2011, and 33 employees of the newspaper lost their homes.

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