Judge to join Joplin storm relief convoy


By Jo Mathis
Legal News
Years ago, Oakland County 51st District Court Judge Jodi Debbrecht would stand on her parents’ front  porch in Columbia, Missouri, and watch tornados tear through the area.
Within hours, she and her family would help clean up the mess.

So when a tornado ravaged the city of Joplin last month, Debbrecht knew she had to do something.

“Seventy-five percent of this community had been completely destroyed in about nine minutes,” said Debbrecht. “This town is very similar to other communities. My own community in Waterford could just as easily have been decimated.”

She contacted Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who put her in touch with the Main Street Oakland County program and its national network of more than 2,200 cities, including Joplin.

The program’s manager, Bob Donohue, contacted the mayor of Joplin to find out what was needed most.

A relief convoy was soon underway.

People can now drop off donations at any of the 11 public work sites in Oakland County. Those items will then be loaded into four semi trucks, which will accompany Debbrecht and Donohue to Joplin on June 16.

Debbrecht plans to spend several days there clearing away the debris.

“They’re not even remotely concerned with rebuilding yet,” she said. “The magnitude of the debris is so huge, the mayor said that’s going to take at least three to four months to get it all cleared away.”

Debbrecht said she’s impressed with the generosity of local contributors, including the Oakland County Credit Union, which has donated $1,000.

When people ask her what she likes about Michigan, she said many things come to mind.

“But the number one thing I tell them is that the people are tremendous,” she said. “We certainly shared in the prosperity at one time, but the past few years have been tough. And we possess a refusal to lie down. Despite this adversity, we are tenacious. We are a generous region, and I think we want to give some of that sense of community back to Joplin right now — a community that so closely mirrors ours.

“We’re reaching out from our Main Street to theirs.”


Monetary donations may be made out to “Judi Helps Joplin” and sent to the Oakland County Credit Union, 1375 North Oakland Boulevard, Waterford, MI 48327.
All donations will go directly to help with the recovery of the Joplin tornado victims Donations are not tax deductible.

- Collection Points -
The collection points are located at the Department of Public Works yards of all the Main Street Oakland County communities except Lake Orion, whose drop-off site is at its Downtown Development Authority office. The addresses are:
Farmington City Hall, 23600 Liberty Street, 48335
Ferndale, Simply Self Storage, 181 W. Marshall 48220
Franklin Village Hall, 32325 Franklin Rd., 48025
Highland Township Fire Station #1, Livingston Rd., 48357
Holly DPW, 201 Elm St., 48442
Lake Orion DDA, 51 N. Broadway, 48362
Oakland County, Bldg, 95W. One Public Works Dr. Waterford, 48328
Ortonville DPW, 159 Cedar, 48462
Oxford DDA, 22 West Burdick, 48341
Pontiac, 55 Wessen Street
Rochester DPW, 1141 N. Wilcox, 48307
Walled Lake DPW, 718 N. Pontiac Tr.,48390

- Supplies needed -
The 11 communities in the Main Street Oakland  County program will host collection points for the following supplies:
Wheelbarrows, all sizes, new and used
Tarps and bungie cords, all sizes
Power generators-portable/gas, new and used
Extension cords/heavy duty, all sizes
Plastic garbage cans, new
Heavy duty garbage bags/contractor grade
Rope, all sizes and lengths
Garden rakes and shovels,  new and used
Pet food, all kinds
Children’s books, new and used
Storage containers, plastic, all sizes
Electric fans, all sizes, new and used
Construction lighting, strings and individual
Gloves, dust masks, eye safety goggles
Hard hats/construction safety grade
Power tools, new and used


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