Collection drive in Rio Hondo for Joplin, Missouri tornado victims

Some volunteer firefighters in Rio Hondo are taking on a new mission to help emergency responders in the tornado ravaged City of Joplin, Missouri.

"Brothers are helping brothers," Assistant Fire Chief Grover Smith said. "And they can be a mile apart... Or they can be a thousand miles apart."

Smith and his brother Raymond are spearheading the collecting drive.

The assistant fire chiefs want to specifically help the emergency responders and their families.

"They were the ones that went out and responded and took care of everybody... And now it's up to us to try and help them take care of themselves."

An EF5 tornado made a direct hit on the city on May 22nd.

More than 150 people are confirmed dead.

The Smith brothers know they can't replace lives, but they hope their collected items will deliver a sense of comfort to them.

"Kitchen utensils, bathroom supplies, personal hygiene things... Clothing is not something they are looking for... They are overwhelmed with clothes," Grover said.

The Rio Hondo firefighters plan to leave Wednesday, June 22nd.

They're hoping to fill a 16 TM to 18 TM trailer with the supplies.

Grover said the collection will take place at the fire station.

He added how they will even pick up items from people who don't have a means of transportation.

Over the telephone, training chief, Scott Cranford, with the Joplin, Missouri Fire Department talked with Action 4 News about how the anticipated help from Rio Hondo underscores how people really do care.

"It absolutely gives me a sense of patriotism and makes me feel like being an American... And being somebody that cares... Seeing a community help another community is always a heartfelt thing," Cranford said.

The collection drive takes place until Tuesday, June 21st.

For more information, contact Rio Hondo Assistant Fire Chief Raymond Smith at (956) 245-0636.

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