Iowa girl who helped elderly couple after tornado returns to Joplin
Photo courtesy of Krystal Junge (August 2012)
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.
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."
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:45 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:45:25 GMT
Residents in Ottawa County, Oklahoma pick up the pieces after trained spotters report a tornado touching down Monday evening. According to the National Weather Service trained spotters reported a tornadoMore >>
According to the National Weather Service trained spotters reported a tornado at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, located about eight miles south of Quapaw, Oklahoma. NWS says the report is preliminary until surveyors assess the damage to determine the strength and path.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:23 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:23:24 GMT
The creator of the restore heart bandage logo is replicating the Restore Joplin tee shirts as Restore Moore tee shirts - 100% of the proceeds going to assist those affected in Moore, Oklahoma. EventuallyMore >>
Since the Joplin tornado $250,000 has been raised and given away at the local level simply by selling tee shirts. Now, the creator of the restore heart bandage logo is replicating the "Restore Joplin" tee as "Restore Moore", with 100% of the proceeds going to assist those affected in Moore, Oklahoma.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:17:52 GMT
News release issued by Via Christi Health: Via Christi Health, like other health care organizations nationwide, is experiencing financial challenges as a result of declining hospital and physician visitMore >>
Hospital officials say one reason for fewer patients may be new insurance plans with higher deductibles. Via Christi in Pittsburg says it'll first be looking at ways to cut costs without layoffs, although the layoffs are a certainty.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:57 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:57:49 GMT
In the two years since the Joplin tornado, Freeman's Ozark Center and the Joplin Family YMCA have helped victims heal emotional wounds through the "Thrive Program". Through the Thrive program participantsMore >>
Through the Thrive program participants get a free temporary membership to the Y and meet with Ozark Center counselors. It aims to help build the mental and physical health of tornado survivors facing struggles since the tornado.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:28 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:28:08 GMT
College expenses are no longer a worry for a Miami, Oklahoma high school student named a Gates Millennium Scholarship Winner. Steven Boyd will attend Oklahoma University with all expenses paid. He'sMore >>
Steven Boyd will attend Oklahoma University with all expenses paid. He's the seventh Miami High School student to win the prestigious scholarship given to 1,000 students nationwide.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 5:43 PM EDT2013-05-21 21:43:09 GMT
The community of Moore, Oklahoma is experiencing the kind of devastation Joplin saw two years ago. Responders from Joplin quickly reacted, taking what they've already learned in the past to Moore on MondayMore >>
The images coming out of Moore, Oklahoma look all too familiar for Joplin and Duquesne residents. Joplin officials want the City of Moore to know that they are not alone, and we are there for them.More >>
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 awardsMore >>
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.More >>
Tuesday, July 24 2012 1:11 PM EDT2012-07-24 17:11:47 GMT
The city of Arma, Kansas is under a boil order after a water main break Sunday afternoon. City officials say the rupture was caused by extreme heat. About half of the city was without water for a coupleMore >>
Arma, Kansas residents can now safely use the water from their faucets.
City officials tell us the water results came back clean from the Kansas Department of Health this morning.
The city wide boil advisory has now been lifted.More >>
Friday, July 20 2012 6:42 PM EDT2012-07-20 22:42:07 GMT
A new short-term home to point troubled teens in the right direction is getting ready to open it's doors. It's part of a project through the Partners for Ottawa County Youth. According to county officialsMore >>
A new short-term home to point troubled teens in the right direction is getting ready to open it's doors. It's part of a project through the Partners for Ottawa County Youth.More >>
Tuesday, July 17 2012 7:20 PM EDT2012-07-17 23:20:53 GMT
Some Joplin residents are concerned about a dump site where debris from the old Saint John's Hospital is being hauled. Residents living nearby the Bullfrog Mine are complaining that dust from the siteMore >>
Residents living nearby the Bullfrog Mine are complaining that dust from the site is affecting their health. The concerns have been brought to the attention of city, state and federal officials but residents say nothing is being done to fix the problem. They are now threatening to get the law involved.More >>
Monday, July 16 2012 6:52 PM EDT2012-07-16 22:52:17 GMT
Kate Massey began her first day on the job Monday with the United Way as the Director for Community Impact. For the past year Massey played a leading role as a Director for Rebuild Joplin, helping toMore >>
For the past year Kate Massey played a leading role as a Director for Rebuild Joplin, helping to get 18 tornado affected families back into homes and raising funding for many others.More >>
Tuesday, July 10 2012 6:10 PM EDT2012-07-10 22:10:09 GMT
A follow up report of an audit in the city of Lanagan, Missouri released Tuesday comes back with unsatisfactory results. An audit of the city and the municipal court was released last year and revealedMore >>
A follow up report of an audit in the city of Lanagan, Missouri released Tuesday comes back with unsatisfactory results.More >>