A visit to Joplin, Mo., this week by a small group of people from Minot was a chance for the two cities devastated by natural disasters to learn from each other, and to build a friendship between residents.
Longfellow Elementary student Samantha Senger, her mother, Amy Senger, Longfellow principal Tracey Lawson and Minot City Council President Dean Frantsvog visited Joplin on Tuesday to take part in that city's Operation Rising Eagle. Joplin's event included ground-breakings for rebuilding its schools destroyed by a tornado on May 22, 2011. Other events honored the 161 people who died when the tornado destroyed one-third of the city, wrecking 8,000 homes and businesses.
Samantha Senger received a Star of Hope on behalf of Minot's children affected by the Souris River flood of 2011. Members of the Senger family were displaced by the flood, and moved back into their home in February after living in a hotel and a FEMA trailer. The Star of Hope program provided wooden stars for every child impacted by the Joplin tornado, and the program will do the same for the children impacted by the Minot flood. The Joplin children decorated the stars and placed them around the city.
For Frantsvog, the visit to Joplin will be a chance to see how the city is recovering from its disaster, and a chance to talk with city officials about the ongoing recovery process.
For Samantha, the trip was a chance to meet other children affected by a natural disaster, and share stories of hope and recovery. And that's a lesson that everyone in Minot and Joplin can learn.