The city of Joplin, Missouri was completely devastated on May 22nd, 2011 by a deadly tornado. Tim, a man who lost everything, shared how his family of 8 survived the storm in the basement of his house.

“I recently retired and just finished remodeling our home.” He laughs.

“Today I am tired of digging through the rubble, but the good news is that all of our family that was here in the danger zone is alive and well. It really gives you a different perspective on life, because the real important  ‘stuff’  isn’t stuff!”

Tim’s recent messages are: “Thank you volunteers, we love you”, “God bless Joplin”, “Down, Not out!” and “Press on!”

The homes with any walls standing, have been marked with an X to show that they have already been searched. Many family members have also written messages on the walls in spray paint, to bring hope and encouragement.

Photos and text by Rachel Bannan