May 15, 2016
By: Tom Bedwell
As Oak Point of Monett prepares to celebrate the opening of their assisted living and memory care community with a preview tour on May 21, 2016, local residents will also be memorializing a more somber event – the fifth anniversary of the devastating tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri on Sunday, May 22, 2011.
This tornado was part of a larger tornado outbreak that took the lives of over 160 people and inured more than 1,150 others. The EF5 multiple vortex tornado caused $2.8 billion in damage and destroyed neighborhoods, businesses, churches, and hospitals throughout the area, annihilating the city’s cherished urban forest of nearly 10,000 trees and spread approximately 3 million cubic yards of debris across the area.
The 2011 Joplin tornado was recorded as the deadliest tornado in U.S. history.
Bobbie Misner, executive director of Oak Pointe of Monett, is anticipating the upcoming preview tour at her senior living community with a mix of anticipation and grief.
Misner was the administrator for the Greenbriar nursing home which took direct impact from the tornado and sustained the highest number of fatalities of any location, including St. John’s Regional Medical Center. Roughly 80 residents and 20 staff members were inside the building that fateful night.
Though the anniversary brings back painful memories for Misner, she is thankful that she now has the ability to protect lives going forward, and can return a sense of safety and confidence to a community still mourning the loss of so many lives.
“You don’t think of things like that until it happens,” says Misner, recalling the devastation that she refers to as, “…a war zone.”
“There are no regulations for long-term care facilities to have storm shelters in place, but Provision Living found a way. Many people may not realize that it’s not always financially possible to incorporate storm shelters to accommodate hundreds of people but Provision Living knew that it was vital for our area and did what they had to do to make it happen.”
Each of the three Oak Pointe communities in the Joplin area – Monett, Neosho and Carthage – has state-of-the-art storm shelters to protect residents and associates from flying debris and tornado-force winds.
The shelters, which double as activity rooms, are constructed in accordance with International Building Code – ICC 500 standards, with windows rated for high wind resistance in compliance with Miami-Dade County testing requirements. The walls are 10-inch thick CMU (concrete masonry unit) block reinforced with concrete and steel, with a reinforced concrete steel lid on a metal deck.
Misner views the incorporation of the shelter by Provision Living, the parent company of Oak Pointe, as a way to learn from the past while honoring the lives lost.
“This is exactly what sold me on Provision Living. As soon as I heard about the integrated storm shelters that were part of each community’s overall plan, I knew that this was a company that I wanted to work with. They know what’s important and they are putting their employees and residents first, despite the financial cost.”
Though the anniversary of the 2011 Joplin tornado will always be a painful memory, Misner has found healing in the knowledge that she can now protect the people in her care.
“This truly makes all the difference in the way that I do my job,” explains Misner. “In our region, tornadoes are just a way of life and I can be confident of the safety and wellbeing of the seniors who will live here. Home should be a shelter – a refuge – and now families will have peace of mind that mom and dad will be safe here, too.”
The exclusive Preview Tour for Oak Pointe of Monett is scheduled for May 21, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Guests can tour the property, enjoy a light lunch and free gift, and get an up-close look at our state-of-the-art storm shelter.
Register to win a Get-Away Package to Welk Resorts in Branson, as well as giveaways from Bruner Pharmacy, Wickman’s Garden, Perfect Images Salon & Spa, Walmart, Lowe’s, Race Brothers, and a host of other local businesses.
Please contact the community for more information by calling (417) 235-3500 or visit our website to RSVP for the tour.
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