DENVER (CBS4)- The Mile High Chapter of the Red Cross sent two people to Joplin, Mo. in the aftermath of a destructive tornado. They joined 200 Red Cross volunteers from across the country to provide essentials to the victims, including water, shelter, medical and emotional support.

Jim Rettew of the Mile High Chapter was in Joplin for eight days. He said the path of destruction in Joplin is far from being cleaned up. Power lines and phone lines are still down. The twister destroyed more than 8,000 homes and apartments and more than 500 commercial properties on May 22.

Missouri officials say the death toll from the massive May 22 Joplin tornado has risen to 138 people, after four more people died in hospitals of injuries suffered in the deadliest single U.S. tornado since 1950.

“There wasn’t even a bathtub, an interior wall, a safe wall standing. Some of the houses looked like they had been put in a blender and the biggest pieces were the size of your hand,” said Rettew.

He said it’s very difficult to compare disasters to one another, but admits he had never seen this kind of utter destruction.

“I talked to a woman who had that intensity in looking for her father, couldn’t find her father. There was nothing, it didn’t matter if she was hungry or tired, she was focused like a lazer in finding her father,” said Rettew.


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