Steve Lowe of Geneva, an Aurora University employee, sent the following photo and message to campus colleagues after viewing a tornado's aftermath in Joplin, Mo., where he went to high school and where his mother and a brother remain.
"Some of you know that my hometown is Joplin, MO," Lower wrote. "My mother and one of my brothers still live there. Their home was approximately four blocks from the outer edges of the F5 tornado that went through Joplin on May 22.
"The word 'stunned' cannot do justice to the lives lost (currently 160) and the physical damage on the city. For certain parts of the city, the damage was like a bomb being detonated and flattening everything in the blast zone.
"The attachment is one picture of the high school that I graduated from in 1965—eight blocks from my mother's home. Destroyed, gone, along with the Vocational Technical School across the street.
"If you look really close, you will see on the sign the word 'HOPE.' Only the letters 'OP' remained after the tornado. Using duct tape, a resident placed the letters 'H' and 'E' on the sign.
"Like the other natural disasters that this country has experienced, recovery in Joplin will be long—from three to five years."
Information for this article is courtesy of Aurora University.