On May 22, 2011, a high-powered EF-5 tornado swept through the Midwestern city of Joplin, leaving a trail of death and destruction in its path. It was the single deadliest tornado to hit the U.S. in nearly 60 years, killing 161 people and injuring 1,000. Approximately 7,500 homes and hundreds of businesses were destroyed. But one year later, things were already looking up for Joplin. Just weeks after the tornado, the community came together for a public meeting, where a plan to rebuild the city was launched on a series of sticky notes. Led by local business owner Jane Cage, the group started the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team to work with the local government and act as a voice for residents. In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a $45 million investment in the city, which will go a long way toward bringing the sticky-note plan to life. And for the high school students of Joplin, who returned to class three months after the tornado in a makeshift space in the local mall, a special guest visited the city in May to deliver their commencement address: President Obama. “My deepest hope for all of you is that as you begin this new chapter in your life, you will bring that spirit of Joplin to every place you travel and everything you do,” he said.
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