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Joplin residents receive national recognition - KOAM TV 7

Joplin residents receive national recognition

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Four Joplin residents received national recognition today.

Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration were in Joplin this morning to honor Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian and Amplify Gymnastics owners Paul Comstedt, Derek Hammeke and Kip Johnson.

O'Brian has been recognized for his outstanding contribution to disaster recovery following the May 22, 2011 tornado. Comstedt, Hammeke and Johnson are also recognized for their efforts to rebuild their business while contributing to the recovery of the community.

The U.S. Small Business Administration presents the Phoenix Awards each year to business owners, public officials and volunteers who display selflessness, ingenuity and tenacity in the aftermath of a disaster while contributing toward rebuilding their communities.

O'Brian says this is not just a personal recognition, but also a recognition of the total effort that was made by the community.

"I think there's just a recognition that Joplin was a community that just didn't sit, that not just the leadership, but the citizens themselves were there immediately helping each other," O'Brian said. "And they have now for two years, worked on rebuilding this community stronger than it was before."

Comstedt says rebuilding businesses in Joplin has been a challenge.

"It has been a lot of work, it's been a lot of work for everyone in Joplin, and it was a long process," Comstedt said. "There were 9 months from the tornado to having no business and then re-opening, and everyone went through a lot of struggles."

O'Brian, Comstedt, Hammeke and Johnson will all receive their awards in Washington D.C. on June 21st.

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