WWU helps Extreme Makeover in Joplin

By Leigh
Rice ’14

During the holidays, students, faculty, staff and alumni of
William Woods University are counting their blessings after traveling to Joplin
to help rebuild the town that suffered from a devastating tornado last spring. Many joined Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in
Joplin during October while others went with the WWU art club in November to
conduct an art therapy session with residents.
On May 22, a three-quarter-mile-wide tornado, among the
deadliest in the nation’s history, struck Joplin, Mo. It crushed nearly a third
of the city and left 161 people dead and 7,000 homes destroyed.  Labeled as the deadliest single tornado in
more than half a century, the Joplin tornado caused the highest death toll from
a single tornado in more than 50 years.
In August, ABC’s Emmy Award winning reality TV show, Extreme
Makeover: Home Edition, announced the show’s plan to build “seven homes in
seven days” in Joplin. It is one of the largest in the history of the
television program that is now entering its ninth season. The episode featuring
the Joplin rebuild will mark the show’s historic 200th episode.
An estimated 14,000 volunteers, including members of Alpha
Phi sorority and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at WWU, helping the Extreme Makeover
crew reconstruct homes for citizens in the Joplin community.
“Community service is a big part of both Pike and Phi’s
chapter goals,” said Kathleen Carron of Alpha Phi. “When we learned we had the
chance to reach out on a bigger scale, we were pumped.”
“The trip to Joplin was a true eye-opening
experience for the men of Pi Kappa Alpha,” said William Wallace, chapter
president. “It was unbelievable to see the damage and destruction caused by the
tornado.  It was a very great feeling to know that we were helping this
community rebuild and regain their happiness.”
Michael Brown, a Pike, said, “Just seeing what the town
looked like after the tornado went through so many months ago was crazy. There
is still a lot of work to be done to help rebuild the neighborhood we were in
and to see all the people willing to go down to Joplin and help was awesome.”
Another Pike, Matthew Brumit, said, “It was amazing to see
the vast damage the tornado had created and then see a sea of blue shirts
working and helping rebuild that community. It’s one thing to throw money at a
problem or cause, but when you go down and do the work yourself, the feeling of
really helping increases tenfold.”
Knowing fraternity brothers and friends who lived in and
around Joplin motivated Brumit to get involved, “I wanted to help a community
that was near to my heart and needed my help.”
Brumit encourages others to get involved. “Everyone is more
than appreciative of the smallest efforts. Find a way to help. Any little part
that you can play in the larger picture of the situation is important.”
While in Joplin, some students worked in the park building a
playground and a sitting area. Others helped with painting, sweeping, picking
up trash, hanging wallpaper and landscaping.
“Most of our time was spent doing little jobs,
but it’s the lit