Category Archives: tornado

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

Honoring the 1-year anniversary, and moving forward

Joplin ExpatsTornado season has approached the Joplin region, and therefore, so is the first anniversary of the storm that changed Joplin and its people forever.

As the storm warnings and tornado damage have already begun across the Midwest and South, The Joplin Expats are proud to announce we will be honoring this anniversary, the storm victims and volunteers by helping prepare Joplin for a future of security, comfort and growth.

The Joplin Expats will be spending the entire summer raising money for storm shelters in Joplin.

If you are an Expat, local Joplinite, or a friend of Joplin’s and would like help raising funds for Joplin storm shelters, email us at

In the meantime, check out our first program (official announcement coming

Cycle for Joplin

Cycle for Joplin

later today):

Remember Joplin this Holiday!

The Holidays are here and some families in Joplin need our help! 

Reconstructing one’s life takes time, an enormous amount of energy and help from others.  Joplin received much kindness immediately after the tornado and the families were incredibly thankful. Six months later, however, a great deal of work and healing remain.

We are calling all Expats and Friends of Joplin to Step Up for their Community!

What was your favorite toy as a child?  Did you carefully stage an army led by G.I. Joe to storm the toy box?  Was your Barbie always elegantly dressed and styled, ready for her date with Ken?

There are many Joplin children who have lost their beloved toys – they were swept away in the wind or buried under the rubble of the children’s houses when an F5 tornado ravaged the city of Joplin on May 22.

This holiday season is difficult for most families in the Joplin area, as so many still do not have a permanent place to live or are in the midst of recovering from the trauma of that day.  They continue to put the pieces of their lives back together, finding new jobs, replacing necessities and finding a new definition of a normal day.

Everywhere they look, though, they are reminded of the devastation, the lost lives, the fear.  Even though the people of Joplin have shown such a strong sense of community and demonstrated countless selfless acts to help others, they can’t escape the sights of flattened neighborhoods or broken trees.  That stress takes a toll on a person.

Joplin Expats wants to help ease the stress for a few Joplin families this Christmas.  Our partnering organizations - Boys & Girls ClubBright Futures Joplin and the Lafayette House - are helping us choose the most deserving families in need, who will have no other support.   

Let’s make Christmas 2011

one they will never forget!

With  YOUR help, we will fulfill some of the children’s Christmas wishes and provide a warm meal for the family to share.  Every family deserves a time to relax, celebrate each other and simply be together.  That chance means even more to families in Joplin this year, as they have been forced to consider the alternatives.

Your contribution will help us provide up to $500 for each family to purchase toys and provide a warm meal for the family to share.  100% of your donation (less transaction fees) will go directly to these efforts for the chosen families.

Donate now!

Tell others about the difference

they can make this holiday!

share this in e-maiL, ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER

The More Money We Raise = The More Families We Help

Some of the children’s wishes to santa include:

  • Winter coat and clothes
  • Shoes
  • Star Wars toys
  • Legos
  • Transformers
  • Bop It game
  • Makeup
  • Books in the Hunger Games series
  • CD / MP3 Player
  • Bey Blade Metal Fusion Battle Top
    Yes, some of today’s favorite toys may require more batteries than when we were children, but they are prized possessions, nonetheless!

your gift will truly put a smile on a child’s face and will certainly warm a family’s home – wherever it may be right now!

Donate to Joplin!

Featuring: Awesome Expats and “Re-Pats”

Who is this Joplin Expat

Who are these Joplin Expats?

In the coming months, your Joplin Expats team will be bringing you exclusive stories that take you behind the scenes with many of our most interesting Expats–as well as “Re-Pats” who have returned to their home town for good.

Find out who they are, where they are now, and what makes them tick. We already have a growing list of very interesting local and global entrepreneurs, community leaders and world travelers–all with their heart in the Joplin area. If you have any suggestions for featured Expats, email us at info (at) joplinexpats (dot) org.

Our first feature is coming at the end of January: Chicago-based Expat Tyler Huffman will discuss Big Bad Chubba’s upcoming benefit and Reunion show, as well as the constant chaos in his most interesting educational and entrepreneurial life that he and his wife have built.

Big Bad Chubba, (a 90′s Ska band formed in Joplin) will perform at the Blackthorn in Joplin on December 23.

“We arranged the night so there could be a lot of catching up with old friends.” said Huffman “I am really looking forward to people coming out to the show and making music with some great friends.”

The event will provide some talented Joplin natives an opportunity to share their love and support for their hometown.   All proceeds will benefit those impacted by the May 22 tornado and the efforts to rebuild.

Big Bad Chubba Reunion and Joplin Fundraiser

Big Bad Chubba Reunion and Joplin Fundraiser

“This is important to me because music always leads me to the best things in my life.” said Huffman, “I know it will be a wonderful time.”

If you will be in the Joplin area over the Holidays, don’t miss this exciting show. Tickets can be purchased at the Blackthorn for $10.

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.

The final list of donated items for St. Louis’s Happy Hour Fundraising Event

Joplin Expats of St. Louis

Joplin Expats of St. Louis bring you dozens of quality donation items for Joplin Schools Foundation

Not only do we have two live musical performers (including Joplin’s own Adam Stanley), tremendous drink specials, and a live radio broadcast, but we now have a list of 32 auction and raffle items worth from tremendous businesses worth a total of over $5,000! Make a donation by purchasing an optional advanced ticket here:

Items include:

  • Eight (8) $25 gift cards for various St. Louis restaurants (Tim Hastey)
  • Black agate, red fossil, and sterling silver bracelet
  • Two tickets to St. Louis Symphony Orchestra concert in 2011-2012 season, Grand Circle or Front Parquet
  • Treat basket: two bottles of wine, a wine opener, candle, puzzle book, dark chocolate pretzels, gourmet coffee, flavored coffee spoons and biscotti wafers
  • Four (4) tickets, Rams vs Ravens, Sept. 25th, Sec. 143, Row Q, Seats 15-18 (donated by Nestle-Purina)
  • Two (2) nights deluxe accommodation, Renaissance Grand Hotel Renaissance Grand Hotel
  • Two (2) one-night-stays and dinner at the Old Dutch Hotel and Tavern; Washington, MO
  • Four (4) tickets for Rams vs. Ravens, Sept. 25th, Sec. 143, Row FF, Seats 13-16. Nestle-Purina
  • Four (4) tickets Cardinals vs. Mets, Sept. 20th, Bank of America Club Box, Row 1, Seats 1-4 Cardinals (donated by Nestle-Purina)
  • Four (4) tickets, Cards vs. Mets, Sept. 21st, Bank of America Club Box, Row 1, Seats 5-8 Cardinals (donated by Nestle-Purina)
  • Three (3) baseballs from Cardinals vs. Royals Joplin benefit game; not sold in stores, limited production (Rawlings)
  • Two (2) dozen Pro V1 golf balls (Nestle-Purina)
  • One (1) suite at a select Gateway Grizzlies game in the 2012 season
  • Extended weekend/week-long stay at a cabin at Table Rock Lake, south of Shell Knob. Four bedrooms, sleeps eight
  • Gift Card to Scotti’s Deli
  • Gift basket with six Halloween frames
  • Basket of men’s goodies and raquet bag (State Beauty Supply)
  • Two (2) tickets, Cardinals vs. Brewers, Tues. Sept. 6th, 7:15 p.m. Section 152, Row 24, seats 9 and 10. Cardinals
  • Two (2) tickets, Cardinals vs. Reds, Sat. Sept. 3rd, 3:10 p.m. Section 160, Row 25, Seats 13 and 14. Cardinals
  • Stan Musial autographed baseball
  • Chris Carpenter autographed ball
  • Gift Cards (Johnny Mac’s)
  • Two gift cards for $100 each
  • Gift Card (Roper’s Regal Beagle)
  • Gift Card (Ramon’s)
  • Gift Card (Meglio’s)
  • Gift Card (La Tejana)
  • Gift card (Chesterfield Sports Fusion)
  • Christmas holiday basket with red and green votive candles, 2 Holiday trays, 1 large round holiday cookie tin, and 3 smaller rectangular boxes for holiday treats
  • Chrome contemporary floor lamp with a swirled column and Italian glass shade (Amini’s)
Joplin Schools Foundation and Joplin Expats

The Joplin Schools Foundation needs you to win!

The list is so long that you should win something just for reading the whole thing! But you don’t ;) So show up this afternoon and bid away! All your winning bids are tax deductible, and 100% will go directly to The Joplin Schools Foundation.

St. Louis’s Back-to-Joplin-Schools Radio Broadcast Fundraising Happy Hour

King's Court and Joplin Expats of St. Louis

King's Court and The Joplin Expats of St. Louis partner to raise fund for Joplin Schools, and to celebrate their amazing return back to school on time

We’re at it again. And this might be the best one, yet, just a long drive away from the Home Town this is all for.

If you’re already convinced, you can make your donation ticket purchase right here:  If you need more convincing, read on! All ticket purchases and donations are tax deductible.

This time we’ve assembled an all-star cast to continue benefiting The Joplin School System. With nearly 50 Joplin Expats and friends in the St. Louis area already volunteering their time and resources, and with a live radio broadcast from one of the most entertaining radio talk show duos in the country, we are ready to raise more awareness and funds than any of our previous events!

Joplin Schools Foundation and Joplin Expats

The St. Louis Chapter will be raising funds for The Joplin Schools Foundation

When: August 23rd from 3pm to 9pm

Where: Graham’s Grill and Bayou Bar, 612 West Woodbine Ave. Kirkwood, MO 63122 (visit website)

Why: Raise money for Joplin Schools, and have fun doing it!

What: Great drink specials, celebrity hosts and live radio broadcast from 3-6pm, dozens of awesome silent auction items, and more!

There are still openings for additional sponsors and volunteers to make the event a success and help children of Joplin get back to school.

The St. Louis area has been key in Joplin’s rebuilding since the tornado, and we hope to continue its involvement by helping Joplin teachers and students make the most out of a challenging start of a school year.

Make your tax deductible donation or ticket purchase here:

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

D.C. Joplin Expats raise over $4000 for Boys & Girls Club

Members of the DC Chapter of Joplin Expats

Despite the looming debt ceiling vote on Capitol Hill, several Congressmen, their staff and other “Hillers” joined other Washington D.C. patrons in raising money for a good cause in Joplin, Missouri. On July 28, 2011, the D.C. Chapter of the Joplin Expats hosted a happy hour fundraising event “Beltway to Route 66″ to support the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri. The event was hosted at the Dubliner Irish Pub, a well-known establishment near Capitol Hill.

Joplin’s Congressman Billy Long, one of the sponsors of the event, stopped by that evening to meet with the attendees and offer his support. Missouri’s Senator Claire McCaskill also sponsored the event, but was unable to attend. One of California’s Congresswoman, Lois Capps also attended the event.

Supporters at the event enjoyed the “JoMo” cocktail, silent auction items and fun raffle prizes. “The tornado affected a large number of children in Joplin and the Boys & Girls Club stepped up to provide a normal environment for many of these kids immediately after the storm,” said Andrea Hicklin, one of the founders of the Joplin Expats. “It was really inspiring to see so many people who have never been to Joplin come out and support our hometown.”

Pictured above (from Left to Right): Njari Gitonga, April Stanley Njari, Andrea Hicklin, Dannielle LeTendre, Kirsten Snyder, Divya Soni, Cesar Morales.

Coty Beauty and Joplin Expats Co-founder Denise (Thomas) Joly Bring Smiles to the Faces of Joplin Women

Coty Beauty and Joplin Expats

Coty Beauty and Joplin Expats

Denise Thomas, a founding board member of Joplin Expats, and Coty Beauty “brought smiles to the faces of over 100 women” in Joplin by donating thousands of quality beauty supplies to the Lafayette House. Below you will see a gracious Thank You letter provided by Lafayette House.

Coty Beauty, Denise Thomas, and all The Joplin Expats are proud to have helped bring happiness to women in the Joplin area.

Lafayette House is grateful for the Coty Beauty and Joplin Expats donation

Lafayette House, Coty Beauty and Joplin Expats

Coty Beauty Thank You