Rams-Chiefs game to benefit Joplin recovery

The Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams will use Friday

night’s preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium to benefit the tornado

recovery efforts in Joplin, Mo.

The city of about 50,000 people, located a couple hours south of

Kansas City, was devastated by a tornado on May 22 that killed more

than 150 people and caused an estimated $2 billion in damages.

Joplin is only now finishing debris removal and turning its

attention to rebuilding infrastructure.

The Chiefs and Rams plan to recognize rescue crews and

volunteers Friday, along with collecting donations from fans. About

500 volunteers and residents of Joplin will attend the game, and

the coaching staffs will wear special shirts and hats to raise

awareness of the recovery effort.

”From the first hours and days following the tornado, we have

been inspired by the resiliency of the people of Joplin,” Chiefs

President Mark Donovan said. ”We’re hopeful that the Governor’s

Cup game will give much-deserved recognition to the volunteers who

have helped in the progress so far.”

Donovan was joined by Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff

and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in announcing plans to honor the people

of Joplin during the preseason game.

Both teams visited the city in the aftermath of the storm,

donating everything from food and water to their time in picking up

debris from damaged homes and businesses. Even some players pitched

into the effort, despite the NFL lockout largely kept them apart

from their teams this summer.

Donovan said he was at an NFL meeting the day after the tornado

hit Joplin when he bumped into Demoff, and the two began to

brainstorm ways in which they could help the recovery. Nixon’s

office came aboard soon after and the plan to turn their preseason

game into a fundraising was brought to life.

”It’s always been an exciting game for us, but this game is

about Joplin,” Demoff said. ”We want to make sure that people

don’t forget and that this is an on-going effort.”

The Chiefs also announced plans to host a high school game

between Raymore-Peculiar and Joplin on Oct. 21. All net proceeds

from the game, which will be televised live statewide, will benefit

the Joplin school district’s rebuilding effort.

”It’s great to have these two hometown organizations that truly

care about the people of Missouri,” said Nixon, flanked by team

officials. ”This year’s Governor’s Cup will be dedicated to both

assisting the people of Joplin in their continued recovery and

rebuilding efforts, and to recognizing the thousands of volunteers

and first-responders who have helped in Joplin.”