"It's peaceful with trees, and I think it's a real good idea to plant all these trees back, because when you look around, there's no trees, and it just reminds you," says Jerry Douglas, Deacon, Empire Baptist Church.
Volunteers are working to bring beauty out of tragedy by getting dirty and planting trees along Porter, Annie Baxter, and Empire Avenue in Joplin. Each street will have a unique timber species planted along the sides.
"So they'll make a nice pattern when they grow up. Even just a little bit, I mean, just by next year they'll be pretty. As they grow, some of them will be able to create canopies, that's kind of the idea to make a real pretty street," says Ric Mayer, Forestry Recovery Coordinator.
Workers with the Missouri Department of Conservation say the trees do a lot more than just beautify the scenery.
"You tend to have less crime, kids do better in school. Plus, we all like some birds around, that's one of things that left when the tornado came in, and they'll come back as we plant trees, and mostly native trees help that," says Mayer.
Most of the trees in the tornado damage zone have split trunks and limbs are cracked and broken, similar to how residents feel since their tornado experience. As the new trees grow, so will the neighborhood.
"What they're planting, it's just little trees about 6 foot tall, but when they get 2 to 3 years growth on them, it's going to make a lot of difference," says Douglas.
A new beginning to slowly piece together what was broken.
"We're here to stay," says Douglas.
Douglas has lived in the neighborhood for more than 80 years, and says he's eager to see how the newly planted trees will impact the area.