Iolans give assist to storm victims



June 1, 2011 - 12:00 AM

It started with a scavenger hunt and ended with a glimpse of Air Force One.
In between, Roger and Billie Collins, son Kris and daughter Darci took part in a number of activities to help the American Red Cross and victims of the May 22 Joplin tornado.
The May 25 scavenger hunt — featuring the combined efforts of Spirit of Pink, Twisted Funnel Concessions and Community Living Opportunities —  brought in scores of youngsters who went door to door through Iola for items to fill health kits. They filled 63 kits, all of which were handed over to CLO officers for distribution to storm victims.
A rummage sale Friday and Saturday was organized by friends of the late Kathy Dougherthy and featured a number of items Dougherthy had accumulated for a sale of her own. Dougherty, 38, died of cancer in April.
“Kathy was such a giving person,” Billie Collins said. “Even now, she is still giving.”
The sale netted $612, which was given to Red Cross.
Other donated items were used to make up a care package for a relative of a former Iolan who lost their home in the storm, Collins said.
The Collinses delivered the package and attended church services in Joplin Sunday, and had thoughts of attending a memorial service featuring President Obama and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.
Heavy traffic, however, prompted the family to dismiss the notion, but led them in view the president anyway.
“I know everybody was going to Rangeline because that’s where they thought he was going,” Collins said. “We were just on a little side road, when we saw all kinds of motorcycle cops and other vehicles.
Amid those vehicles was a black SUV, which contained the president.
The Collinses went from there to Joplin Regional Airport, where they saw Air Force One shortly before takeoff.
They were set to return home before deciding again to go by a damaged neighborhood to see if anyone needed help. They found an older gentleman retrieving items from his demolished house. The man’s wife had been hospitalized with a broken back in the storm.
They helped the man for a spell before returning to Iola Sunday evening.
“So many people still need so much,” Collins said.