Bells for classes at local public schools rang in time on Aug. 17, even after nine of the town's19 schools, including its only high school, were destroyed or severely damaged by the tornado.***
Two Walgreens stores, one of which was flattened, reopened Aug. 22. The drugstore chain set a new record of 83 days for completing the construction of any store.
St. Louis-based Mercy Health System has announced it will build a new hospital by 2014, after its St. John's Regional Medical Center took a direct hit from the twister.
As of Aug. 25, Joplin had issued 192 residential permits to rebuild and 2,092 permits for home repair, according to city spokeswoman Lynn Onstot. The city has also issued 73 commercial rebuild permits.
Mayor Mike Woolston says he could not be more proud.
"Our folks didn't wait for the help to get started," he said, noting governmental assistance was crucial but crediting self-help for the rapid recovery. "It's the way the community responds that sets the tone," Woolston said.
Our book, 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado is available online.