The city of Joplin, Missouri got a little help from the Chiefs organization as they continue the process of rebuilding after the devastation wrought by tornadoes last month.
Quarterback Matt Cassel, linebacker Andy Studebaker and first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin were among the 136 members of the organization that spent Thursday hauling debris to aid in the cleanup efforts. The players also signed autographs as part of an effort to make things a little better for people still trying to put their lives in order.
“One day isn’t going to fix it,” Studebaker said. “One group isn’t going to fix it. Collectively, we need a lot of people locking arms and saying we’re going to own this community. It’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of people, but we can make this place better again.”
It is the second trip that Cassel, who likened the damage to the aftermath of a nuclear bomb, and Baldwin have made to the area and the Chiefs are also selling special merchandise to raise money for the relief effort on their website. They also collected about 150,000 bottles of water at Arrowhead Stadium in the days following the storm. The Rams have made similar gestures toward Joplin and the Patriots are doing the same after tornadoes ripped through Massachusetts in June.
The trip provided members of Chiefs management a rare chance to spend time with players during the lockout. The league has wisely made efforts like the one in Joplin an exclusion to the rules barring contact during the work stoppage. Chiefs owner Clark Hunt was going to be on the trip, but he was in Boston for labor negotiations leaving general manager Scott Pioli to lead the group.
“It’s great for us all to be together,” Pioli said. “Just because this is a work stoppage doesn’t mean it’s a life stoppage. The bottom line is we’re all a part of this community. It’s great to see everybody and for the right reasons, too.”