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Joplin Tornado Victims Get Help from Japan

By: Ethan Forhetz Email
By: Ethan Forhetz Email

Thousands of people have gone to Joplin, Missouri to help out since a tornado ravaged the town more than a month ago.
They've traveled from every corner of the country.
But for one man, it was a trip halfway around the world to repay the United States for helping his homeland.

Thousands of volunteers, many mobilized by Americorps, are starting to make a dent into the cleanup of debris left behind following the EF-5 tornado that ripped through Joplin on May 22.

AmeriCorps volunteer Jared Wicks says:

"We have a big problem, but we have a lot of big hearts that are coming and showing up everyday."

One of those volunteers with a big heart is Toshiya Muto or 'Toshi' as his friends call him.

Seeing what the people of the United States did with their wallets and their actions following the devastation that hit his home country of Japan in March, the earthquake and following tsunami, Toshi decided that he would do his part to pay the U.S. Back in the wake of the devastating tornado.

Toyshia Muto says:

"I heard it was a horrible, horrible situation and thought maybe, I should do what I can to help in Joplin. Both are very terrible disasters."

Toshi left Japan and arrived in Joplin more than a week ago. During his time here, he's worked in the hot sun every day alongside volunteers from New York, Florida and several other states.
But no one as far away as Toshi's home.

Wicks says:
"He's very hard working, very inspirational. I think it's just the utter definition of compassion for your fellow man."

Toshi says he's also guided by a sense of respect and gratitude toward America.

Toshi says:
"It's not just the sadness, you see the good side of people. I felt that in Japan and I feel that here. I really respect the people who are here volunteering and helping out."

Toshi rides his bike 10 miles 'round trip everyday from his hotel to the disaster zone to do what he can to help victims of the tornado and do his part to make this world we share a better place.

"In an imperfect world, it brings a little bit of perfection."

"Of course it has an impact on my life, but though my strength may be soft, slightly weak, if it has some impact, if someone needs me to exert myself, I'd like to do my best to help."


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