(By Nick Schneider) [Order this photo]
R & R Trucking, located at the intersection of U.S. 231 and State Road 558 in Daviess County near the Greene County line, is a defense contractor for NSA Crane -- hauling munitions and military supplies coast to coast with its fleet of 250 trucks.
Terminal manager/driver, Leroy Barnhill of Bloomfield, is heading up the relief effort -- collecting water, canned goods, flashlights, raincoats and cash money to offer to the storm victims.
"I talked to some people out there. They are in desperate need. It (the tornado) tore a four-mile wide stretch through the town," Barnhill told the Greene County Daily World.
Barnhill explained that one trailer will be parked at the trucking company's lot, located about a mile from the entrance to NSA Crane's gate.
Another one will be situated between Bloomfield Manufacturing Company and the Bloomfield First Christian Church, located near the corner of West Spring and South Jefferson streets.
Barnhill hopes to get the trailers loaded as soon as possible and heading toward Joplin.
"When the trailer is loaded, we'll get it there (to Joplin)," Barnhill said. "We make our business helping the warfighter (in the military). Now we want to help other Americans who are in need."
Barnhill said communication to the Joplin area is difficult because of the storm devastation, which has downed many of the cell phone towers.
R & R Trucking has 10 employees at its Crane terminal and about 150 work out of the Joplin office.
He says the early response to the relief effort has been encouraging.
Within 45 minutes of contracting Bloomfield Manufacturing Company, five pallets of bottled water (1,900 bottles to a pallet) as well as a number of corrugated boxes to package the donated boxes had been secured.
"Eric (Harrah) got the word out and he was able to round up the water in a very short period of time," Barnhill said.
The donated items and money will be forwarded to the Forest Baptist Church in Joplin and also College Heights Christian Church for distribution.
"The churches were full of people for shelter last night (Sunday). We know there is a need. ... They need our prayers and things. What would you need if you lost everything? Those are the kinds of things they need," he commented. "They are just needing everything. Many of the people only have the clothes on their backs. It's a bad situation."
The Associated Press reports that the 6 p.m. Sunday tornado chewed through a densely populated area of Joplin, killed at least 89 people as it tore apart homes and businesses, ripped into a high school and caused severe damage to one of the two hospitals in the city.
As many as a quarter of the buildings in the southwest Missouri city suffered major or significant damage, fire and emergency management officials said.
Parts of the city were unrecognizable.
Complicating the situation, broken natural gas lines were causing fires throughout the city, and a new round of severe weather was bearing down on the city of 50,500.
For more information and to arrange pick up of donated items, contact Barnhill at 384-5103 or 384-8633, R & R Trucking's office near Crane village at (812) 636-4328 or the Bloomfield First Christian Church at 384-4812