May 22, 2012 • By

Joplin: One year later

Today we join the city of Joplin, Mo., and its surrounding communities in remembering the people who died as a result of the tornado that struck there a year ago.

We also remember the destruction of homes, businesses, churches, hospitals and schools in the city.

But we also celebrate the incredible spirit of renewal and recovery in Joplin.

General Mills operates a plant in Joplin, and our employees who work there have strong roots in the city. Many of them were impacted by the loss of property and the loss of lives.

The rebuilding of the city has been on a swift pace.

Many of our employees in Joplin have contributed to that effort, during the week and on weekends. They have worked as contractors or volunteered their expertise on building projects for friends and relatives.

“They could help with things like electricity and air conditioning, so that really helped some people who didn’t have full insurance or any insurance at all,” says Cindy Crayne, a Human Resources assistant at our Joplin plant. “A lot of people on our maintenance team also had tractors and other equipment to help in yards, cutting trees and hauling away debris. They really helped each other out.”

Cindy says that all of our employees whose homes were damaged by the tornado are now back in Joplin or a nearby area, living in rebuilt homes or apartments.

In a way, Cindy told me, the tornado recovery has taught people in Joplin to remember the importance of helping a neighbor in need. She explains, in this audio clip, that no matter where you live, we should all realize the impact we can have by reaching out to the people around us in our communities.

Today, General Mills officials and employees are proud to attend several events in Joplin to mark the tornado anniversary, including the groundbreaking for a new school, a community walk and a moment of silence.

If you’d like to join us in supporting Joplin’s recovery, please visit

Last June, I talked with several employees about their experience during the tornado. In video interviews, I heard where they were when it hit and what they did afterward to help their families, neighbors, co-workers and strangers.

Here is one of the videos we produced: