I'm the mushy sentimental type. Big surprise, right!? I fire up and tear up when the news covers a soldier's homecoming or the long-suffering Lions fans get a win. This week, I received a simple message that touched me deeply and provided the motivation I need in order to do this job. It was a handwritten note from Rob O'Brien, the CEO of the Joplin Missouri Chamber. It accompanied his substantial ACCE dues check and it was a reply to the note I wrote him on his membership invoice. In light of the unfathomable tornado damage that struck his town, I had written, "Rob, do what you can. If you need to send nothing this year, don't sweat it." Or something like that. His note back said: "Thanks for the offer to accept less for dues, but we are good right now . . . enclosed is our full amount. Keep doing great things. Rob."
Rob will have a tough time fully rebuilding the economy of Joplin, but he and his team are already hard at it, with efforts to restore the hospital (focus of every network camera in May), the schools and the business base. Their "YES WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS" roster of establishments that have reopened, along with those that never closed, grows every week. The transition from response to recovery is getting assistance from many corners. And yes, they are open for business.
Recently, in response to what the pundits, pols and pottymouths of both parties have been spewing, Jon Stewart on the Daily Show said, "We need some perspective -- these are hard times, not end times." When I see the kind of determination and faith displayed by Rob and his team in Joplin, even in the face of destruction that resembles the stuff of biblical end times, I am amazed and inspired. When the going gets tough, the tough keep you going.
P.S. If you want to help, go to: www.joplincc.com