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Kathy Siefert, a U.S. Postal Mail Carrier, wasn’t expecting a huge, brown cloud to rumble through Joplin on Sunday, May 22. After leaving a movie theater in Carthage with a couple of girlfriends, she heard the prediction for harsh weather and the warning to take cover if in the path of destruction. She arrived at hear house, turned on the television, heard “take cover,” grabbed her dog and watched the storm ravage the city.
As a veteran mail carrier, the tornado made a major change on her normal path of work. Joplin lost a staggering seven routes, and supervisors and post masters came to the rescue to help the Joplin carriers. But what happens when mail must be delivered to homes that no longer exist? For Siefert, it was floods of tears and a will to get the job done. She said she had to drive the same path of destruction four times each day: to the office, while on her route, returning to the office from her route and returning home from the office. But it had to be done. Despite the long pick-up lines at the post office, the hundreds of forwarding addresses and witnessing colossal destruction every day, the Joplin postal workers banded together and made things work with ease. According to Siefert, they also have the patience of Joplin citizens to thank, too. People stood and waited for their bills, their magazines, their letters–just like a routine.
While it could take years to recover the lost routes, Siefert says Joplin will look like a new city. “We’re gonna be bigger and better. We’re going to look new. There is so much Joplin pride. We’re a closer-knit community now.” Routes are already taking shape once again, and motivation and perseverance are at all-time highs.
Video produced by Derrick Ho & Nicole Garner; Text by Justin Whaley
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