University of Missouri's Southwest Region News Service offers the following article concerning 4-Hers helping a Neosho 4-H family that was hit hard by the effects of Saturday's tornado:
Members from several 4-H clubs in southwest Missouri are responding this weekend to a request for help by travelling to Neosho to aid the Wortman family after they lost everything on their farm in the May 10 tornado.
Becky Fay, 4-H youth development assistant in Greene County, began working immediately after the tornado to get 4-H’ers in southwest Missouri together to help 4-H families in Newton County. She has been joined by Kelly Shilling who is meeting groups iNeosho and leading them to the Wortman’s farm.
“There is a great need for cleaning debris out of pastures, shingles, boards, tin and tree limbs at the Wortman farm,” said Fay. “This 4-H family has lost everything so they have no storage right now but money would also be of assistance.”
The Salvation Army is taking donations in Joplin at (417) 624-4528 and a Salvation Army warehouse in Neosho is also taking donations at 1300 Howard Bush Road, near the airport. Both locations say they need personal hygiene items, clothing of all sizes, baby formula and diapers and non-perishable food.
Monetary donations can be sent to the Newton County Extension office, 1900 South Highway 71, Neosho, 64850 in the name of Newton County 4-H Council and noted ‘Disaster Relief 2008’.
“This past tornado has really affected our 4-H family in southwest Missouri. As many as 15 of our 4-H families in Newton County have severe damage and this one family has lost everything -- house, barns, animals, cars and farm equipment,” said Fay.
Haley Wilkerson, a member of the Clover Comets 4-H Club near Rogersville, is traveling to Neosho on Saturday with her boyfriend, a member of a 4-H Club in Lawrence County.
“I think this will be an eye opening experience. I feel really sorry for the people out there that lost everything. I can't even begin to imagine how awful that would be. I am not sure how much help I will be, but I will do my best to be of service,” said Wilkerson.
Gail Driskell, a co-leader for Sac River Stablemates 4-H Club located near Willard, Mo., has several reasons for heading down to Neosho on Friday to help the Wortman family.
“One reason I am going to help is the bond of 4-H. These 4-H families in Newton County personally are a part of my bigger 4-H family. What greater opportunity to put the 4-H pledge to action by using my hands and my time to help other 4-H families in need,” said Driskell.
The Sac River 4-H Club competed against a team from Newton County in the Horse Bowl this past year so Driskell said she does feel a personal connection to the Wortman family because of that competition.
“But most importantly, I also serve a God who commands us to love our neighbors and to help the least of these. God has really pressed upon my heart this week the simple command of ‘go’ so, I'm listening and going,” said Driskell.
For more information on how to help the Wortman family or other 4-H families in Newton County, contact Kelly Shilling at (417) 385-8972. She is working to coordinate other work groups as well as the donation of items.