Iowa girl who helped elderly couple after tornado returns - KOAM TV 7

Iowa girl who helped elderly couple after tornado returns to Joplin

Photo courtesy of Krystal Junge (August 2012) Photo courtesy of Krystal Junge (August 2012)
July 2011 July 2011
July 2011 July 2011

Updated August 31, 2012:  In July 2011 we introduced you to a six year old Iowa girl who adopted an elderly couple that lost their home in the May 22 tornado.  Since then, Raegan Junge has won many awards and continues to help tornado victims as well as wildfire victims and today she was back in town.

She says she was surprised at all the changes.

"It was a big difference - all the, like, stop signs and buildings," Raegan says.

Raegan and her mom are in town to volunteer at Misty's Mission, but they also wanted to catch up with the couple she had originally helped, Don and Helen Capps.

They they couldn't find the couple.

With the rain, Raegan and her mom stopped at Walgreens for an umbrella.  That's when they bumped into the Capps'.

"They're like family so it was really good to see them, it was amazing how it happened," says Krystal Junge.

Follow Raegan on Facebook:  facebook.com/raeganstornadoreliefeffort/

Reported July 14, 2011 by Angela Greenwood:  Don and Helen Capps lost their home on Pennsylvania Street in the May 22 tornado.  There were home when the tornado struck and, like many Joplin and Duquesne residents, when it passed their home was gone.

"It's a much told story, you know - after 79 years of living look what I got now, I have nothing," Don says.  "My wife felt the same way I know and she started crying and I put my arm around her and I said 'well, let's just forget this, you know, go on."

But Don says the storm did not take everything.  They still had hope.  The Capps rented their now demolished home and their new home from a friend.

"He's the magic part of this too, 'cause everything that we've got is through him," Don says.

But before the Capps moved into their new house the couple took shelter at Missouri Southern.

And they were interviewed on The Weather Channel.

Their story caught the eye of a stranger with a big heart.  A stranger who was no stranger to helping people in need, and had raised $500 when the tornado tore through Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The Capps received a letter saying "A lady from Iowa called.  She and her little girl saw you on national TV.  The little girl would like to sponsor you and send the money she raises for your benefit."

"I read that letter and it just - I mean it filled my heart and my eyes and everything you know," Don says.  "That's why I carry it around.  I'm afraid it might get lost or mislaid or something if I don't."

The little girl is six year old Raegan Junge.

After seeing Don in the interview on The Weather Channel she instantly took a liking and set out to help the couple.

The soon to be first grader collected money from complete strangers to help a couple she had never even met.  Those who donated to Raegan's cause received a bracelet.  She made them herself as a way to say thank you to those who helped Don and Helen.

She raised $1,068 for the Capps, who used the money to buy a car.

"That little girl, she had to put some work into what she did and she put her heart into it, just for two people, that's the greatest thing that's ever been done in this world and I'll never forget that, and I'll never change my mind about that," Don says.  "I don't know what to say about it.  It's beyond my ability to say why a six year old would do that."

For Raegan it's simple - "because I love them."

Then she brought that love to Joplin.

"I saw her through the door here and I saw these people out in the street - I knew it was Raegan 'cause she was just a bouncin' along," Don says.  "I knew it was Raegan and sure enough when she come here and come up the steps I picked her up and held her real tight.  My wife, she did the same thing.  The whole family come down here to see us.  It just made no end to it, no end to it."

Through Raegan the Capps have gained something even more priceless than possessions.

"I'll always brag about her just like she's my own little granddaughter," Don says.

Don says Raegan's mother, Crystal, said on the day they left to fly back to Iowa Raegan cried because she did not want to leave Don and Helen.

And now the Capps know they are always being watched over.

"I've got a flock of angels," Don says.  "It's amazing, and you know the little girl was just the figurehead in all of this - all those people donated to somebody they didn't know even existed.  It just overwhelmed me.  It still does."

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