Family left homeless after Joplin tornado surprised with new home

17 Mar

It’s great to see a piece of Edwardsville in the story of the Joplin recovery. I hope that the home they build here is part of a bright future rather than a dark memory in the past. Welcome to Edwardsville, Cooks!

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EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KTVI)-A family known for putting others before themselves was displaced by the Joplin tornado almost three years ago. The lives of Johnny and Kelly Cook and their four children changed forever when the storm destroyed their home and belongings on May 22, 2011.

After the tornado hit, Johnny spent endless hours transporting victims to the hospital. The community referred to him as one of their heroes.

Jenny Hays and her partner, Deborah Hays, started Illinois Angels Disaster Relief, an Edwardsville-based non-profit organization that collects donations and hauls supplies to victims of natural disasters. They started after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The group also helps rescue animals.

When the tornado struck Joplin, Jenny and Deborah went to help. It was just by chance that Deborah spoke with one of the Cook’s daughters at a concession stand at a benefit for tornado victims. The Cook family was volunteering…

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