Category Archives: New York

To provide storm shelters for Joplin families, an expat & friend are cycling 8 hours a day for 20 straight days

Cycle for Joplin fundraiser for Joplin storm sheltersIn two weeks we’re sending our President, Todd Greene on a 20-day, 1,500-mile bike ride from New York City to Joplin.

Huh?! What?! Why?!

Want to know more? Below you can read the official press release in conjunction with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. You can help by donating here:

Cycle for Joplin | Cycle for Shelters

From Central Park to Cunningham Park is 1,500 miles through 7 states and tornado alley.


The 20 Day Ride Will Cover 1,500 Miles, Seven States, and Run Directly Through Tornado Alley

Joplin, Mo., April 15, 2012 – On Sunday, April 29, Todd Greene and David duCille will depart from Manhattan’s Central Park for a 1,500 mile, 20-day bike ride to raise funds for Joplin, Mo., the town devastated a year ago when a tornado ripped through the community.  Coinciding with the first anniversary of the natural disaster, the duo plan to raise $50,000 to build an additional 20 storm shelters in the town.

Cycle for Joplin

Cycle for Joplin

Greene, a Joplin native, moved back to Joplin after living in New York for over decade. An avid athlete, he struck up a friendship with duCille in New York, where the gentlemen became baseball teammates and bicycling partners. duCille himself runs a personal training business in Manhattan.

“Right after the tornado hit, the idea to ride my bike from New York to Joplin to raise awareness for my hometown was stuck in my head. It was at a time of deep contemplation for me. I knew I had to do something and this seemed like a natural idea,” said Greene, who co-founded The Joplin Expats, an organization that aggregates the philanthropic passions of a global Joplinite network.

Both wanted to jump on their bikes immediately but Greene and duCille delayed the trip in “anticipation of a time when Joplin still needed help, but attention for the town may have waned,” said Greene.

The ride will take an average of eight hours each day for 20 days, and will cover 1,500 miles—much of it straight through Tornado Alley in the peak of tornado season. The duo will chronicle their trip at

All money raised during the ride will support the building of 20 new storm shelters in the Joplin area.

“Todd would tell me how the children in Joplin were terrified at weather reports of rain or the simple sound of heavy wind blowing,” said duCille. “If you’d have told me a few years ago that I’d be cycling to some small town in Southwest Missouri, I’d have said you were crazy. But I did choose my personal training career to help people, and by helping Todd, and families in his home town, this is the epitome of altruism.”

The Joplin Expats is coordinating Cycle for Joplin, and The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation is managing the donations. You can follow the ride and donate to the cause at

“It is unbelievable for our donors and sponsors to provide peace of mind and Joplin Area chamber of Commerce Foundation and Cycle for Joplinsecurity to the children of Joplin in this way,” said Tonya Sprenkle, Vice President of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. “But what is symbolic is this ride telling the nation that Joplin is back, ready for business, and immeasurably thankful for its 120,000+ volunteers from all over the country.”

Todd adds, “No matter where you’re from, try to visit our great town. If you volunteered before: come see the progress you helped make. If you lived here in the past: come reunite with your roots. If you’re just driving through historic Route 66 or I-44 on your way to St. Louis or Tulsa, stop in and have a bite to eat. And if you’re just kind of crazy, hop on your bike and cycle from halfway across the country!”

Follow the ride, donate or sponsor by visiting

Lady Antebellum Prom Contest

The Joplin Expats, along with some help from Melissa Blayton and the Joplin Prom Project, put together a submission video for the Lady Antebellum Own The Prom Night contest. Thanks to everyone that submitted and participated, we think the video turned out great and shows great Joplin pride.



We are hoping to win the contest to have Lady A not only come to Joplin for a prom, but create a community prom event for all the students in the area. Hopefully if we all watch and share the video we an help bring the super stars to Joplin to help out whole community Own The Night!


9/11/2001 and 5/22/2011: A Personal Contrast

9-1110 years ago today on 9/11/2001, I was there. I was confused, lost, frightened. Frozen.

And just months ago on 5/22/2011, I was not there (at least not in person). But I was, once again, confused, lost, and frightened.  For some reason, however, I was not frozen.

Measured in time, the difference between these two dates is nine years, eight months and 11 days. Measured in distance, the difference is approximately 1,300 miles. Measured in the minds of NYC Expats, the difference was unexplainably complex. And in my personal response, the difference was unpredictably dramatic.

Just after 9:15am on 9/11, I stepped out of a crowded subway station just a mile away from Ground Zero. Like a paused scene from a zombie movie, thousands of New Yorkers provided an unbelievable juxtaposition: they packed the city streets, yet kept it quiet enough to hear a pin drop. They stood still, looking up at the Twin Towers with their mouths open in awe.

I finally went inside my office building just minutes before the towers collapsed. Therefore, I only witnessed the aftermath.

On 5/22/2011 my adventure began while I rested on my comfy couch 1,300 miles away from Freeman Hospital. The scene of my wife and me isolated in our apartment provided a stark contrast to the scene of me in a city crowd on 9/11.

In the aftermath of 9/11 my family was frantically calling me, unable to get through.

In the aftermath of the Joplin tornado I became the panicked one, making nearly 50 phone calls in fewer than 30 minutes.

On 9/11, with the phone lines down, Internet not loading, and work cancelled for the day, I did what I thought any tough juvenile would do: I faked calm, collected swagger. I grabbed a friend and we simply walked into the clouds of Ground Zero. We got close enough to be turned away by security guards covered in ash. We just walked back home.

On 5/22 I was far from the disaster, and felt helpless. But was aggressively seeking an outlet. I was so physically distant that my emotional proximity was magnified. Gone was the little boy who only thought about volunteering on 9/12/2001. Gone were his apathetic attempts at calming his family, and his general lack of understanding of how and even if he could help.

Perhaps subconsciously, the witnessing of a changed world in the years after 9/11 made him realize the necessity of more caring behavior. The entire country’s collective 9/11 experience had triggered a more aware and empathetic response, from both him and the entire world.

A detractor may say it was simply an increase in age and the supposed accompanying maturity. He or she may also say it was most likely as simple as Facebook being invented, allowing immediate, worldwide, reliable contact with real people as they experienced the situation.

But times had changed. I had changed.  The years of involuntary guilt for doing too little in NYC after 9/11, and for being so distant from my home town for over a decade, had turned me into a panicked yet much more productive philanthropist.

Both cities were unified by tragedy. Both cities unified a world through tragedy. And the tragedies together changed me.

As the videos below prove, 9/11 in New York, and 5/22 in Joplin both  are heart-wrenching to witness, no matter how far you are, or how long it has been. Time and distance are said to heal wounds. In this case, time and distance exposed the wounds.

Joplin Schools Inspirational Back-to-School Video is HERE!

“Opening Day” on August 15, 2011 kicked off the school year for Joplin School Teachers, Staff and Volunteers.  The event was capped off by this video collection of personal messages from Joplin High School alumni and Joplin expats from across the country and from around the world!  Even Barry Manilow, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and 3 Doors Down joined to celebrate Joplin’s return to school and to say thanks to all teachers and staff for their selfless service and dedication to Joplin’s youth. #eaglepridenationwide #eagleprideworldwide

First Official City-Specific Joplin Expats Logos

Joplin Expats of Chicago

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of Chicago

Joplin Expats of Dallas

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of Dallas

Joplin Expats of Kansas City

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of Kansas City

Joplin Expats of Los Angeles

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of Los Angeles

Joplin Expats of New York

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of New York

Joplin Expats of Omaha

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of Omaha

Joplin Expats of Puerto Rico

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of Puerto Rico

Joplin Expats of San Francisco

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of San Francisco

Joplin Expats of St. Louis

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of St. Louis

Joplin Expats of Washington D.C.

The Official Logo of The Joplin Expats of Washington D.C.

New York City’s Back-to-Joplin-Schools Happy Hour Fundraiser

Joplin Schools Foundation and Joplin Expats

The NYC Chapter of Joplin Expats Raises Funds for The Joplin Schools Foundation

Joplin Schools are returning on time, even after the tornado devastation less than three months ago. And you can help! Have fun and show your support during Happy Hour on August 23rd, Joplin’s first full week back to school.

At 6pm Copia on 53rd & 2nd will host Broadway performers, some of the most talented DJs in NYC, Joplin Missouri natives and friends for an amazing night showing support for a school system recently devastated by an EF5 tornado. You can view the invitation, and make advanced donations by clicking here.

The night will begin with a cheerful Happy Hour where party-goers will have the opportunity to bid on fantastic silent auction items including professional massages, Broadway Show tickets and memorabilia, gift cards, hand-made jewelry boxes and Yankees tickets.

The public is invited to join in the fun from 6-9pm and enjoy the entertainment and festivities–all for a worthy cause.

Copia NYC and Joplin Expats

Copia NYC on 53rd & 2nd is the site for the Back-To-Joplin-Schools Happy Hour Fundraiser on August 23rd

Denise (Thomas) Joly, NYC Chair of Joplin Expats, is excited for the opportunity to help children in her hometown by raising funds for the Joplin Schools Foundation. “As if educating an entire city’s children is not enough,” says Joly, “the struggles faced by the School District since the tornado are unparalleled. Their needs are virtually endless, and we vow to assist”. Joly is doing just that, along with fellow Joplin Expats members in the New York City area.

During the May 22 tornado, over thirty percent of Joplin was leveled, destroying and damaging 10 schools. Joplin Expats hopes the Back-to-School Happy Hour Event will raise funds and show much support to a community in need. All funds will go to the Joplin Schools Foundation.

All donations are tax deductible. If you are unable to attend but still want to help, you can make an online donation of any amount by purchasing one of our available ‘virtual’ ticket options here:

Event Details

When: August 23rd @ 6pm
Where: Copia in Midtown (visit Copia website)
Why: Raise money for Joplin Schools, and have fun doing it!
What: Great drink specials, professional DJs, Yankees tickets and dozens of other awesome silent auction items
Who: The (official, non-profit) Joplin Expats of New York