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Local response to Missouri tornado relief has been amazing

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

(Photo)
Mindy Barnhill, of Bloomfield, was helping with the loading of the relief supply truck on Tuesday morning.
(By Nick Schneider) [Order this photo]
The response by area residents to a call for help to assist tornado victims in the Joplin, Mo., area has been overwhelming.

That's the assessment by Leroy Barnhill, terminal manager/driver for R & R Trucking Company, located at the intersection of U.S. 231 and State Road 558 in Daviess County near the Greene County line.

The storm and devastating damage hit home with Barnhill and the other R & R Trucking employees.

The home office for R & R Trucking is located in Joplin, which was ravaged by a deadly F4 rated tornado Sunday -- destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.

Barnhill is helping to organize the Greene/Daviess County relief effort to assist the Missouri tornado victims -- many of whom are co-workers with the company.

"God is so good. I was just talking to those people out there. They just can't believe the outpouring of support from us here," Barnhill said.

In about eight hours Monday, enough donations poured in to fill the Bloomfield collection site to fill an entire semi trailer with water, diapers, food, clothing, and other items.

The first filled semi truck left the staging area on South Jefferson Street in Bloomfield -- next to Bloomfield Manufacturing Company -- about 5 p.m. and arrived at the in Joplin about 2 a.m. where unloading was taking place at the Forest Baptist Church in Joplin and also College Heights Christian Church for distribution, Barnhill said.

Interestingly, the driver who took the load of relief supplies was a tornado victim himself. He had been on a run in the Canada area on Sunday night when the storm hit his hometown. He was dispatched to the Indianapolis area early Monday and then down to Bloomfield on Monday evening to drive the load of collected items, Barnhill explained.

"These are actual victims hauling the stuff back to Missouri," Barnhill told the Greene County Daily World.

"There was 35,000 pounds of water, 12 pallets of water. Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC came through with four pallets of water and Bloomfield Manufacturing Company had five pallets donated," Barnhill said. "Eric (Harrah) with Bloomfield Manufacturing is as humble as he can be and has been good to us. His son, Austin, is putting together a crew who is going to go out to Joplin this weekend. They are leaving Friday morning. They are going to stay at our terminal in Joplin and work out of there. It's just amazing."

Barnhill has been pleased with the help he's received.

A Washington, Ind., woman contacted him on Tuesday who had read about the relief effort on the Greene County Daily World's website and the need for rain gear.

She called and and NASCO offered Barnhill six skids full of discontinued rain gear (2,000 rain suits) of all sizes that she was going to donate.

"That stuff will be in Joplin tonight," Barnhill promised.

After talking with some of the people that Barnhill knows in Joplin he found out Tuesday morning there is a great need for gloves.

Barnhill called a glove company in Plainville (Tri-Star) and they agreed to donated a number of gloves -- 8,000 pairs.

"It's all God's plan," Barnhill noted. "It's amazing what everybody is doing."

The second trailer full of supplies is expected to leave for Joplin at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Barnhill said.

The focus now will be on preparing individual personal hygiene items in plastic bags. There is a need for those kinds of items.

Barnhill said the local group is determined to continue the relief effort for as long as the need exists.

"We've just got to hang on and keep doing this. It's long term. It's not going to end this weekend. We'll go into next week and see how they are doing then. It's not something that has to happen today. But if anyone has anything, we need it," he stressed.

Barnhill pointed out that a pallet of water can be purchased for about $250 and he urged civic groups or church group to consider this as a donation.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said the Joplin storm, at times three-quarters of a mile wide, was the deadliest single tornado to hit the United States since 1953. At least 116 people died and 500 were injured by the storm. The numbers are expected to climb as aid workers comb through the wreckage left behind.

For more information and to arrange pick up of donated items, contact Barnhill at 384-5103 or 384-8633, R & R Trucking's office near Crane village at (812) 636-4328 or the Bloomfield First Christian Church at 384-4812.


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Wow - It's wonderful to know in spite of all the bad news that comes from this area, there are still people who care enough to help complete strangers in their time of need. God Bless all who help and those who need the help from this tragedy.

-- Posted by DominicReynolds on Tue, May 24, 2011, at 7:20 PM


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