Chiefs Honor the Five-Year Anniversary of Joplin

It’s been five years since a tornado struck the city of Joplin

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On May 22, 2011, a tornado registering more than 200 mile-per-hour winds struck the city of Joplin, Missouri. The EF-5 storm damaged 7,500 residences and affected 17,000 people. 161 lost their lives.

Sunday marks the disaster's five-year anniversary.

In 2011, the Kansas City Chiefs held a water-and-supply drive, sent a team to Joplin to help with cleanup and hosted the Joplin football team for a game at Arrowhead Stadium. A year after that, the Chiefs participated in a house-building project and built a playground in the city.

The Kansas City Chiefs held a Play60 event at the Family YMCA in Joplin, MO.

Now, five years later, the Chiefs have continued to maintain a relationship with the city of Joplin.

Last Friday, former linebacker and Chiefs Ambassador Shawn Barber, K.C. Wolf, Red Coaters and the Chiefs Community Caring Team returned to Joplin to visit the Joplin Family YMCA in order to host a Fit Kids Army class and present a grant to the YMCA administration.

More than 200 local children signed up for the event.

"The attendance has been phenomenal," Barber said. "I think the city as a whole of Joplin, the YMCA of this community will turn back today and look at it as a great turnout and a great event for all that showed up. Hopefully they can go out and even reach some of their friends that didn't show up today and continue to Play 60 every day throughout the summer."

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Kim Gray, the Joplin YMCA's director of development, was thrilled to have the Chiefs in attendance.

"I think you can tell by today's turnout that Joplin is Chiefs country and the Chiefs visiting us today is like a dream come true for our kids," she said. "We have been looking forward to this visit hosting the Chiefs at the Joplin Family YMCA for a long time."

The "Fit Kid Army" is a class that provides an opportunity for afterschool exercise and team building at the YMCA in Joplin. The grant from the Chiefs helped the group develop the class.

"One of the most significant casualties of the 2011 tornado was the health and well being of our kids," Gray added. "After the tornado, our schools noted a rise in depression and behavioral issues among kids who were school-aged and their families due to the fact that families had been affected by job loss and loss of homes.

"Fit Kid Army is committed to ensuring our youth have the opportunity to engage in physical activity and learn about the importance of developing healthy habits at a young age. These components help kids combat depression and obesity, stay focused in school and mitigate at-risk behavior."

On Saturday, the Red Coaters and Chiefs also assisted with the Joplin Memoriam Marathon, which will benefit the Bill and Virginia Autism Center.

"It's pretty neat," Red Coater Dan LaDue, who is from Joplin, said. "The people are getting to see us and bring it back. We have Red Coaters and the Chiefs who worked with the marathon to help close this five-year chapter."

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