RUSH: Kirstie, Joplin, Missouri. How you doing?
CALLER: I am good, Rush. Thank you so much. Thank you. We with are all present and accounted for here at the Joplin area Chamber of Commerce, but we have so many, many others that aren’t, and I called to talk to you today because I wanted to talk about business recovery in Joplin. I thought you were the man to talk to about this.
RUSH: What could I do?
CALLER: Two things, Rush. The first is, we have opened a partnership here in our facility at the Newman Innovation Center. The SBA Business Recovery Center has opened this morning at nine a.m., and it’s a partnership between three entities: the SBA, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Missouri Southern State University business and technology department. We are so excited to be able to offer this service to our business owners who are in dire need of assistance right now. We are taking care of the people first, but we’ve got to get business back up and running here in Joplin, so we want everyone to know that that resource is available for businesses.
RUSH: All right. I’ll tell you what, you know, I’m a Missourian. I’m a Missourian, tornadoes and floods and stuff where I live. And just like you in Joplin, there’s not a whole lot of whining and complaining about it. You’re just rolling up the sleeves, as your call indicates here, and doing something about it, and I have total faith that you’ll get a proper response to this. Because people want to put their lives back together. The people in Joplin, Missouri, know the fastest way to do that is to do it themselves. You wait. It will happen.
RUSH: Back to Joplin. This is Sherri.
RUSH: Sherri Cloyd, who is the executive assistant, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. How are you?
CALLER: I’m good Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Good. Now, we had Kirstie on, and we had a hard break format constraint that we had to go.
RUSH: I didn’t get enough information outta her. People really do want to know what they can do to help you all in Joplin.
CALLER: Absolutely. Absolutely, Rush. I know that Kirstie was going to mention that we do have a foundation set up through the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce that is a business recovery fund. You can either call us at 417-624-4150 to get information on how to donate or you can go to our website: joplincc.com.
RUSH: That’s cc for Chamber of Commerce.
CALLER: Yes, it is.
RUSH: So you’re taking steps now for —
CALLER: Yes, sir, we are. We are. We want to help our businesses recover from this disaster, and we are here to help.
RUSH: Well, now, Sherri, let me play devil’s advocate with you here for a moment.
RUSH: Why do you want to focus on businesses recovering and rich CEOs and their corporate jets, why do you only want to focus on that?
CALLER: Well, we are the Chamber of Commerce, and so we do serve businesses within our community.
RUSH: I know, I’m being facetious here.
CALLER: We are focused on our businesses. We are also focused on the individuals in town as well, you know, because individuals are part of those businesses, and so we are definitely concerned about them as well. But we do want to help our businesses get back up and running to where the economy can be boosted again.
RUSH: You also want to keep them there.
CALLER: Yes, we do, we do. And we have heard from several of our businesses, our member businesses who said yes, we will be rebuilding so, you know, they are planning on being here and staying here.
RUSH: Well, that’s good. I can’t imagine. I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve seen the satellite pictures today —
RUSH: — of the six-block devastation, and a lot of people in their individual lives get up one morning and say, “Okay, I’ve gotta make major changes. I’ve gotta start rebuilding my life today,” and any kind of change is daunting for people.
RUSH: This, with the pictures that we see, you live it, gosh, it’s gotta be… what do you do first? Where do you start?
CALLER: It’s overwhelming, but we have had so many people come into our community and our community has banded together. We are all helping each other and we are so grateful to everyone who has come in to help and clean up and help people and just be here with us as we go through this. We are so thankful and we’re helping at this point, you know, just to be a support to the people who have been affected by this in our community, and we just want to help ’em pick up the pieces.
RUSH: Well, now, we’ve had reports that between 50 and 75 percent of the population was displaced and affected by this. Is that true?
CALLER: Well, it’s probably close, Rush, probably close to that.
RUSH: This is amazing, Joplin, a town of 49, 50,000 people, right?
CALLER: Yes, we do. Yes, we do. Right at 47,000.
RUSH: Well, God bless you. We wish you all the best, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from people.
CALLER: We hope so.
RUSH: You will.
CALLER: We hope so because we need people to be supportive of this community at this time, and, you know, not only to our businesses, but also to our individuals, and we are here to support as well, you know, and we just wanted to get this word out on your program just to make sure that people knew what they could do to help.
RUSH: I appreciate it, and we’ll have these numbers and that website on our website as well.
CALLER: Rush, thank you so very much, and God bless you.
RUSH: Sherri Cloyd, who is the executive assistant, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.
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