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Colorado Woman Returns Home To Joplin To See Destruction

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An image from Joplin (credit: CBS)

An image from Joplin (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – The number of people unaccounted for after the deadly tornado in Joplin, Mo. is now down to 29. At one point last week the list of missing held 232 names.

Most of the people have been found alive after more than 130 people died in the storm.

There are a lot of family ties between Colorado and Joplin. One woman who grew up in Joplin but lives in Colorado just returned after checking on relatives and a family business. Nicolette Cusick found both good and bad news in her hometown.

Cusick thankfully found her relatives are all okay, but her family’s business, called Pizza by Stout, did not survive.

“I grew up there my entire life. I lived there, worked there,” Cusick said.

She has fond memories of Joplin, or at least what’s left of it.

“I miss just that hometown feel.”
space Colorado Woman Returns Home To Joplin To See Destruction

Cusick is just back from surveying the damage and is still reeling from seeing how little is left. But it was seeing the spot where her family’s restaurant used to be that upset her most.

“My grandparents started it in 1978. They put all their money into it, put everything up for collateral. My grandma says that fear motivates and that’s the only reason she was successful at it.”

The restaurant is closed on Sundays — the day the tornado hit.

As Cusick drove through her hometown she saw unfamiliar piles of debris in a town unrecognizable as her own. But already she’s working to raise money to send back to Joplin.

“Got it to some of our employees who lost their homes, but they also lost their source of income too,” she said. “It felt good to get that out.”

Cusick has a Facebook page where people can donate if they want to help her community. She also skates for the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls, so she’ll ask for donations at this Saturday’s game at the Fillmore Auditorium on East Colfax Avenue.

Some 8,000 homes and buildings were destroyed in the tornado. President Obama visited the area on Sunday and promised help as the city rebuilds.

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