Joplin volunteer shares stories of recovery - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Joplin volunteer shares stories of recovery

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A group of East Texans just returned from their second trip helping Joplin tornado victims rebuild. It's been nearly six weeks since an EF-5 tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri.

The stories of survival and recovery have left a lasting impression on the 47 East Texas volunteers.

"Just churned up and erased off the face of the earth," said Travis White with Mission Tyler.

On the first day of their second journey in Joplin, White says they let God guide them to their work.

"We met a family just randomly driving down the road and we stopped and there was a grandfather and his grandson cleaning up," he said.

Mike Sapp is the grandfather he's talking about. The twister flattened his home. By phone, Sapp told us the tornado basically wiped his neighborhood off the map.

"There wasn't a wall standing on the house," said Sapp. "In fact, when I first got there, I walked passed my house. I did not even recognize it.

He says what Mission Tyler did for him is more than he could have ever asked for.

"They basically gave me a month of my life back because I would have spent a month cleaning that place, picking up debris and moving debris," he said. "I was just amazed at home much they could do."

He says Joplin desperately needs help. He says mounds of destruction are everywhere you look.

"We still have a refrigerator we can't find. If you can imagine not being able to find your refrigerator, but the tornado picked it up and moved it somewhere and we have no idea where it moved it to," said Sapp.

Soon, White will return to Joplin, hoping to touch more families like Mike's.

"When we left he couldn't believe that in the midst of all of the overwhelming destruction that our group from Texas would spend two days helping him clear his property," said White.

Now, white is asking you to not forget the people in Joplin.

Mission Tyler has planned a third trip from July 20-24 to Joplin. White says the group needs a bus that fits anywhere from 20 to 30 people.

To find out how you can help their mission, visit their Facebook page.

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