Hundreds gathered at Cunningham Park in Joplin today to remember the 5th anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that tore through the town killing 161 people.
Kathleen Vanderhoofven was one of hundreds of tornado survivors who celebrated a day of remembrance of hope at Cunningham Park in Joplin. "My son and I on the day of the tornado were at Stained Glass Theater next to St. John's and of course that got destroyed in the tornado; we lost three people in the theater."
The ceremony included a moment of silence in which many survivors embraced one another and two survivors taking turns reading aloud all 161 names of those who died.
Tornado survivors like Pat and Chuck Lonardo also used the afternoon as a chance to honor all the volunteers who helped rebuild Joplin and gave the community hope. "It's just a great way to thank people and to show people we're still standing; we're proud, Joplin proud, Joplin strong; we're getting better every day."
Something many in the community say they couldn't have done without help.
"Going in an digging through people's houses, where the houses used to be, the debris and finding their things, helping them to gather their things and there's no way I couldn't have helped with something," says Vanderhoofven.