Sunday, June 12, 2011



Jaokb Knight, 3, smiles as he surprises his mom Amanda, 32, with a kiss while thye color in a coloring book at their home on the 2800 block of Indiana Avenue on June 11 in Joplin, Mo. Amanda Knight said she tries to keep her son away from thoughts of the tornado, specifically when looking at the disaster area. The two live on the outskirts of the devastation, but rode out the tornado hand-in-hand with their dog in his lap. Jakob's father is deployed in Iraq. "He needs a sense of normalcy, a distraction from what has happened here," Amanda Knight said. "So I try to keep him occupied. He was born at 26 weeks. He's my miracle child. The fact that he is alive and well, and we survived this, means everything. I knew he was special, and I couldn't have made it through this without him."


A home near 26th Street displays a message for looters on June 11 in Joplin, Mo.


Joplin resident Marlon Douglas sits on a neighbor's porch on June 11, whose home was totaled in the tornado in May. Douglas is among a group of five area residents who are helping rebuild the home in an attempt to help clean up the city. "It's in shambles, and people who don't live here who see it on TV just don't understand," he said. "This isn't going to be something picked up in two days. This is something that will take months, years to fix. It's a disaster, and we need to come together now more than ever to uplift the city — to make this our home again."

Friday, June 10, 2011

JOPLIN: The Scene, Day 2


A bird perches atop a wooden cross with a flag wrapped around it's center to hold it together Friday evening on Kentucky Avenue in Joplin, Mo.


The scene of the central area in the six-mile path of the tornado in Joplin, Mo.


A map that outlines the path of the tornado hangs posted on the wall of a chaplain's office in Fellowship Baptist Church on Friday afternoon in Joplin, Mo.


The broken windows of St. John's Rehabilitation Center.


A polaroid picture sits amongst a silverware set Thursday evening at a residence on 26th Street in Joplin, Mo.

JOPLIN: The People, Day 2


Kathy Thompson, 60, cries as she holds the wall to what was once her living room while walking down to the first floor at her home Friday afternoon on S. New Jersey Avenue in Joplin, Mo. Thompson's grandchildren left messages written on the walls throughout the house to let her know they cared. "My granddaughter gets it, she truly gets it," she said after tearing up from reading one of the notes on the wall. The note read, "Even though a tornado came, memories will always be the same. This house was built with love and with it love it was built. I'm glad it's still standing because without love and memories, it would tilt."


Sarah Mitchell, 6, at center, holds her parents' hands as to Kansas chaplains Gordon Herb, 82, and Thurman Oliver, 76, pray for her and her family in a prayer circle outside of their home Friday afternoon on New Hampshire Avenue in Joplin, Mo.


While waiting to pick up her mail in bulk since she no longer has a mailing address, Joplin resident Diane Parker confides her survival story in Kansas Chaplain Gordon Herb, 82, Friday at the post office in downtown Joplin. Herb has traveled around the city to cope with people, pray for them and support them for the last two weeks. "These people need hope. We are here to provide the humanitarian effort, but also the spiritual. We want people to know that God is here. We are here to help them through this awful, awful mess."


(Caption is same woman as first photo above.)


A family of three walks down the street of their old neighborhood as they look at friend's houses on 23rd Street in Joplin, Mo.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

JOPLIN: The Scene, Day 1


A brushfire burns debris and the remains of a house in a subdivision Thursday in East Joplin.


A flag at the top of a tree above a home marked "OK" by inspectors in Joplin, Mo.


A teddy bear sits stuffed inside the hood of a twisted, broken semi-truck Thursday at the site of what was once a storage facility in Joplin, Mo.


Writing on the side of a house exclaims passion for lives being spared during the tornado in Joplin, Mo.



JOPLIN: The People, Day 1


Al Smith, 74, walks away from the site of his former home Thursday afternoon in Joplin, Mo. "It's just a catastrophe everywhere you look for miles," he said. "The stories you hear, the people — everybody here has been affected by this storm."


Joplin resident Cathe Letts rumages through a debris pile looking for some of her family heirlooms, photo albums and anything she can find. Within an hour, Letts was able to procure photos of her children, young photos of herself and some stuffed animals. Her grandmother's plate set was destroyed, as she found them in shambles. "A lifetime of memories turned to dust," she said. "I'm just happy to find anything that still looks like it did, even half as good as it did. I will cherish every photograph I find."


Karen Godfrey, left, looks back to her husband Ray and their bichon dog Camaro as they take her for a walk down Bird Street on Thursday in their neighborhood where the tornado hit. Their home was totaled, but the couple is determined to rebuild. "Well, one of these days we'll be back home. We'll be able to have a home again. It's a slow process, but I can't wait to be back in what feels like home."


A 29-year-old Springfield resident Shannon Tatum, second from right, pushes an office chair Thursday at East Joplin Middle School amidst a group of volunteers from James River Assembly of God who have come to clean, remove debris and help bring order to Joplin, Mo. "It means everything to these people, and to be able to help them," she said. "A lot of my family lives here, so I flew in from Thailand as soon as I heard the news. It's different when it's your city, you know? When we clean, we find pictures of children and families, their snacks their moms packed for lunch for the next day. Teachers, students — these are people's lives. All of the piece we move mean something to someone. Never forget that."


Joplin resident Jim Wills, 69, stands in his kitchen, hands on his hips, with a solemn face Thursday as he looks upon a house torn apart by the multiple-vortex tornado on May 22 that struck a six-mile stretch, killing 151 as of June 9. He and his wife rode out the storm in the bathtub of their home at 2025 S. Duquesne Road. "This is just one helluva mess," he said, "but thank God me and my wife made it out alive. As I look at this, sifting through the wreckage that was once my house, I just can't believe we survived. Our neighbor died. We were lucky to not have the same fortune."


Larry Clark, 61, stands in the living room of his home at 4404 E. 20th Ave. as he looks around for belongings Thursday almost three weeks after the tornado initially struck a six-mile path in Joplin, Mo. "I was shoeless in the closet of my bedroom when it hit," he said. "I didn't think it was going to be this bad, this big. I shrugged it off, and I wish I hadn't. I regret that, but as I sat there, I prayed. I prayed out loud for our dear Lord to save me. As the storm neared, it sounded like the huge footsteps of a giant, tumbling closer and closer to me. I thought I was dead. At one point, I heard this huge suction, and I swear, I was being brought up to heaven. It was the worst 10 minutes of my life, but God saved me."

Monday, June 6, 2011

ENGAGEMENT: Ian and Annie

Ian and Annie are simply fantastic. Very easy to work with, and heck, we even went out and shot photos in the rain. They are a great couple. I've known Ian since, well, since I was born. Being my cousin, I'd visit his family and play hockey, video games and all the things we do as children in the summer. I met Annie in high school. The two are just wonderful. Here's a short edit of their engagement shoot. A big congratulations to them both on their upcoming June wedding. :)












Oh, and here's the fun outtake of the shoot. There were a few, but these two take the cake. :P



Saturday, June 4, 2011

FEATURE: Midland and Dow Graduation


Midland High School senior Mark Torkelson, 18, sits back against yellow padding on the gymnasium walls, his shoes kicked off, waiting to line up for the commencement ceremony Friday night at Midland High School. "I'm moving on with a new chapter in my life — a chance to start over in a new environment with new people and new experiences," Torkelson said. "People say graduation is bittersweet, but I don't feel any of that right now. I just want to get out of here and be done with school."


Dow High School seniors sit in the gymnasium Friday night waiting to receive their diplomas at H.H. Dow High School's commencement ceremony.


Midland High School senior L.J. Jones, 18, at center, practices moving his tassel while waiting in line for the band to begin "Pomp and Circumstance" as the seniors prepare for the graduation ceremony Friday night at Midland High School. "I'm ready for that next chapter in life. College, here I come," he said smiling.


Midland High School senior Carson Grzegorczyk's tassels dip into the edge of the water Friday night as the 18-year-old takes a sip from the water fountain before standing in line in preparation for Midland High School's commencement ceremony.


Dow graduate Paige Stavely laughs with a friend as everyone in the graduating senior class turns around to listen to the choir sing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" on Friday night at H.H. Dow High School's commencement ceremony.


From left: Midland High School senior Kiana Helm, 18, hugs Ashley Kihn, 18, white sitting with Natasha Seaman, 17; Ashley Demo, 18; Josezette Jewell, 18; and Erica Quinn 18 as they sit on a set of bleachers in a gymnasium waiting to line up for the commencement ceremony Friday night at Midland High School. "I'm finally going to be an adult," Quinn said. "I can do stuff on my own without my parents. I am going to go to college and become a nurse like I've always wanted."

Friday, June 3, 2011

FEATURE: Sick and tired


Isaac Workman, 8, of Midland lays on a rolled up mat Friday night on the second floor of the H.H. Dow gymnasium while a sibling graduates. Workman has been sick for two days and was trying to rest away from the noise and hundreds of people. "I'm so tired. That's why I am trying to sleep over here," he said. "I am so sick of being sick."

Thursday, June 2, 2011



Lansing resident Jason Hillard taps the back of the swing as he pushes his one-year-old son Oechli while swinging on a swingset Thursday afternoon in Emerson Park. The pair were in Midland while Hillard's wife was working, and decided to find something to do at the park.