A Tribute to Volunteers: The Miracle of the Human Spirit (2011)
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A Tribute to Volunteers: The Miracle of the Human Spirit (2011)

Six months after the tornado, the City of Joplin unveiled a memorial designed and constructed by Drury University's Hammons School of Architecture students which honors the more than 180,000 volunteers who came to assist in the rebuilding of our city. This tribute, which is located in the northeast corner of Cunningham Park, features four circles representing Rescue, Recovery, Demolition, and Rebirth. In the center, a mosaic recalls the miraculous “Butterfly Stories” which were told by many children after the storm. The shards of the mosaic pedestals represent broken lives being put back together again. The heroic efforts of rescuers and volunteers are represented by the bronze hard hat, gloves, sledgehammer, and hammer. To the south of the Volunteer Tribute is a re-creation of a historical fountain next to a plaque that memorializes the 161 lives lost on May 22, 2011; exactly 161 trees have been planted in the park to honor those lives, as well. A nearby reflecting pond built on the site of the park’s original playground commemorates the lives of the children lost in the storm. The Butterfly Garden is located in the northeast corner of the park, where the outlines of a three homes destroyed in the tornado are “penciled in.” The garden and overlook area is an open, sacred space that is designed for personal reflection.
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