Jonesboro couple lose Joplin apartment in tornado

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) –Just a few days ago a tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri leaving more than 100 people dead and neighborhoods flattened.

A Jonesboro couple in the process of moving to Joplin lost their home and most of their belongings.  Saturday Daniel Rankin graduated from college with his friends, family and fiance there to celebrate.  Sunday evening part of that happiness was ripped away when their home was ripped apart.

"I turned to the left where houses used to be and I could see down the range line and there was nothing and that is when it hit me," said Daniel Rankin.

Rankin moved into this apartment in January.  He and his fiance Katharine Fletcher had been slowly filling the rooms with wedding gifts and memories.

"We were sitting up our home getting ready to move-in in two weeks," said Fletcher.

Their things are now scattered across the area.

"It really did symbolize our lives together what we were looking forward to," said Rankin.

"It was pretty disheartening to see everything you've worked so hard for just everywhere," said Fletcher.

Daniel and Katharine say this is very difficult.  Adding to the stress of the disaster, the wedding is a week and a half away.    

"I feel lucky to have what we do have.  I still have a job and the church is still there I still have my fiance and my future," said Rankin.

The wedding is still planned for June 4th in Jonesboro.  Rankin said they lost the groom gifts in the storm.

"As bad as I am hurt that I am a victim and my stuff is gone it's bigger than that it's not just my experience," said Rankin.

They have family and friends who are helping them recover and prepare for their wedding.

"We're still getting married that Saturday.  We're still going on our honeymoon so I mean not a lot of that changes as far as the structure of it.  Obviously it's going to mean a lot more to us," said Rankin.

While disasters like this one can put a strain on a relationship, this couple says they are stronger because of it.

"Something like this puts everything into perspective.  You stop worrying about the little things.  Your little petty arguments, you just can't do that anymore because you realize how petty those things are when other things are so much more important," said Rankin.

"It will mean just so much more because this is going to be such a happy time for so many people even the people in Joplin having a little bit of happiness is going to be nice for everybody," said Fletcher.

The couple will stay with the grandmother of a friend until they can get a new place of their own.

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