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    Posted May 21, 2013 by
    Joplin, Missouri
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Joplin's messages for Moore

    More from fhmartinez

    Two Years Later...


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Student fhmartinez braved the deadly tornado that tore apart the Missouri town of Joplin on May 22, 2011, and he still lives there now, despite his family home suffering terrible damage (as can be seen in the before-and-after images in this iReport). Since the storm he says there were months spent wrangling with insurance companies to ensure costs were covered, and he made the decision to move to a part of town closer to his grandmother should another tornado threaten the area.

    "My advice to the residents of Moore would be to just live on," he says. "Life sucks sometimes, and we are sometimes given the worst hands when playing, but with patience, we always get it right and we always win." He said a close knit family and his friends helped him get through the difficult times. "I think that when you experience something so traumatic and difficult to understand, you become stronger willed and it hardens your emotions a bit, making you a bit braver," he said.

    Despite the challenges of the past two years, he loves his home town and says he could never see himself anywhere else. "I could never leave this town, and I have tried," he said. "I just keep coming back."
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    With Moore, Oklahoma being hit just yesterday, people in Joplin think back to two years ago when the town of 50,000 were hit by an EF-5. The Two years anniversary is tomorrow (May 22, 2013). I still personally live in Joplin and the photos I've provided show the damage to three locations that I visited in Joplin the day of the tornado, and present day.


    It's hard to think of how life will go on after something so destructive happens, but it does. The people of Moore, OK will rebuild and will become stronger for it. It is still terrifying to know they were hit by something that Joplin experienced as well. It even took a personal hit on myself as a friend of mine is from Moore, OK and her parents live there currently. They are fine and made it out OK, but it still is a damaging thing to think about.


    That night was terrifying because I knew people who were being affected in Oklahoma, but because our sirens were going off due to the same storm that did Moore's damage.


    I personally have become a lot more aware of sirens after the May 2011 tornado and don't think of it as just strong winds or a simple overreaction by the city.


    A lot of people have moved away from Joplin and haven't come back permanently, but I love this town, and will never leave. My life hasn't changed much other than being more prepared for something happening without warning. I still live in this town, and I still go to the same Wal-Mart and everything else in Joplin. Given, it took a while to get the courage to walk into the renewed Wal-Mart for a while, and my partner was the same way.


    Moore, OK will rebuild just like Joplin did and will be stronger for it. I don't believe in God, but I do believe in human resilience and the uncontrollable humanity that is brought out due to disaster.

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