While the Rams and Chiefs get ready to battle against each other on the gridiron for the Governor’s Cup Friday night in Arrowhead Stadium, they also are going to fight for a cause. They both have something in common besides training camp soreness, aches and pains. Both organizations took time out this offseason to give back to the community of Joplin that was devastated by one of the largest tornados in U.S. history.
Both teams made visits on separate occasions to the city that looked like a bomb was dropped in the center of town. Trees with no limbs. Houses and buildings in ruins. The complete school system was destroyed from kindergarten through high school. Everything was gone!
During the game on Friday, both teams will come together to recognize those who have helped in the cleanup of Joplin and help out by collecting money to aid the rebuilding of this city.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Chiefs president Mark Donovan and Rams chief operating officer and executive vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff announced that they’ll have several Joplin-related items on tap for Friday’s game.
Fans will have the option of giving back to those who are struggling in the donation of cash as they enter the stadium. The continued education and awareness of how far the city of Joplin still has to go n the rebuilding project will be a major focal point. A tribute will be made during the game to those groups that first responded and the many volunteers that have contributed to the efforts in both the cleanup and rebuilding efforts.
Randy Covitz and Candace Buckner of the Kansas City Star teamed up on an article that mentioned that Arrowhead Stadium will host two football games to benefit the Joplin tornado relief. Joplin students will return to school with lessons in resilience. Joplin schools will receive up to $1 million for computers. Leavenworth High School donated desks and chairs to Joplin and the young survivors of the tornado face a long journey, but school will start on time.
I made the trip across the state with the St. Louis Rams and took part in the relief help earlier this summer. I was part of a 15-person party that worked at Misti’s Mission, which has earned the distinction of being the largest donation center in the United States. They started it hours after the tornado touched down, leaving a path over a mile wide and six miles long. It left the city crippled, sending horror, terror, destruction and loss of life to a city located 140 miles south of Kansas City. We sorted clothes, shoes, home supplies and furnishings for those people that lost everything.
When the Rams travel party boarded the bus to head back to St. Louis, the National Guard drove through the epicenter to witness Mother Nature’s wrath. It took our breath away and left us in total disbelief. After several months of cleanup, it still looked like a war zone.