Returning to Joplin with Secretary Duncan and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino

 Ed. Note: Cross posted with the Homeland Security Blog.

Today I visited Joplin, Mo. with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, to survey the progress of recovery efforts on the ground. When I last visited Joplin in June, I told our team of federal, state, local and community partners that we would not leave until the job was finished and today, three months later, we remain committed to helping the people of Missouri rebuild.

Joplin High School Coffee Shop

Education Secretary Arne Duncan (end of counter), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (middle) and FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino (right) purchase a drink at the Joplin High School coffee shop. The coffee shop is a student run business to help purchase items for the temporary high school as their original high school was destroyed in the May tornado

As I toured the areas affected by the May 2011 tornado, the scale of devastation is still difficult to comprehend. We know that the recovery process will take time, but it’s inspiring to see the work already underway. Despite the destruction of its campus, Joplin High School started its school year on-time, which is a testament to the resiliency of the Joplin community. At DHS, we often talk about the importance of engaging the entire community in responding to and recovering from disasters. Joplin is a community determined to bounce-back, and they are a true model for others.

This Administration is committed to supporting recovery efforts in Joplin and other areas impacted by natural disasters. We will continue to work with affected communities and I personally look forward to going back to Joplin to see the progress firsthand.  

Janet Napolitano is the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.