Public Works director Tim Gramling said Joplin officials contacted the city Sunday night immediately following the tornado requesting assistance. Gramling said the city would be reimbursed by the state for any costs it incurs, but the objective was trying to lend a hand to one of Missouri's sister cities.
When Gramling asked for volunteers to go to Joplin, more employees raised their hands than were needed. He also said that, with tornadoes threatening closer to home, the number of workers in Joplin wouldn't create a large problem if something were to happen here.
"It would be less people to draw from, but we'd have enough to at least initially get started on anything we needed done," Gramling said.
It's uncertain if more workers will need to be sent to Joplin after this crew returns home, Gramling said, but they have no shortage of volunteers to set up a rotating system if need be.
"We want to do everything we can to help," Gramling said. "If something like that were to happen here, we'd be looking for help, too."
Meanwhile, Skinner and the others are hard at work, pulling 13-hour shifts and grabbing what little sleep at Missouri Southern University dorm rooms. But Skinner said the crews don't mind.
"That's the reason we came out, to lend a hand where we can," he said. "We want to make their lives a little easier, if it's even in just some small way. There has been an outpouring of support. But it's just a wide devastated area with a lot of problems. It's been a real eye-opening and heartbreaking experience."
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Cape Girardeau volunteer: We're here to lend a hand
People are coming from all over to help with the Joplin tornado relief. An interview with one of those volunteers, Mark Skinner of Cape Girardeau, is featured in today's Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian: