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i stopped through joplin, missouri in the middle of a 5 week road trip across america. i was hours from st. louis where i would see my father for the first time in 8 years. this was 11 days after a mile-wide ef5 tornado took the surface world and made it its own. i was 23 years old.

i stopped because i needed to understand. tragedies oftentimes only have a digital face. desensitization is a side-effect.

i saw the human spirit in its purest form: the joy of being alive, the happiness of having somebody to love, and the love for your fellow man.

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NICOLETTE, A MUSICIAN

SHE AUTOGRAPHED A POSTER OF HERS she had FOUND IN THE REMAINS OF HER HOME FOR ME. ON IT, SHE WROTE: "HOLD ONTO YOUR DREAMS”. HER ALBUM WAS RELEASED on itunes the prior week.

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STANDING WHERE HER HUSBAND HAD KISSED HER FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME

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NICOLETTE AND HER HUSBAND

their family narrowly avoided the tornado by escaping into their basement, mere moments before the tornado struck. her daughter’s boyfriend, will norton, perished while driving home from HIS high school graduation.

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