Missouri Guard retiree association receives grant in recognition of Guard tornado efforts

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Nils Ranum, president of the 203rd ‘Houn Dawg’ Retiree Association in Joplin, accepts a grant check from the Wal-Mart Foundation in recognition of the Missouri National Guard response to Joplin’s May 22, 2011 tornado. The Wal-Mart store on Range Line Road, decimated by the twister, was rebuilt and opened to the public on Nov. 9.  (Ann Keyes/Missouri National Guard)

Nils Ranum, president of the 203rd 'Houn Dawg' Retiree Association in Joplin, accepts a grant check from the Wal-Mart Foundation in recognition of the Missouri National Guard response to Joplin's May 22, 2011 tornado. The Wal-Mart store on Range Line Road, decimated by the twister, was rebuilt and opened to the public on Nov. 9. (Ann Keyes/Missouri National Guard)

By Ann Keyes
ngmo.pao@us.army.mil

JOPLIN, Mo. - The Missouri National Guard's 203rd 'Houn Dawg' Retiree Association received a grant in recognition of efforts put forth by Guard Citizen-Soldiers since Joplin's devastating tornado.

The $1,000 grant comes from the Wal-Mart Foundation, which is donating more than $1 million in gifts and in-kind donations to Joplin's recovery. An official presentation was held Tuesday afternoon, just before the Wednesday reopening of the Wal-Mart at 1501 S. Range Line Road, the previous store decimated by the May 22 twister.

The grant money will go toward those with particular need, with funds distributed by the retiree association. The association has collected $14,000 in contributions toward the tornado recovery thus far, distributing more than $10,000 in relief funds.

"We wanted to do something," said Nils Ranum, president of the Joplin-area Guard retiree group.

Andy Martin, manager of Joplin's Wal-Mart Store 59, noted Joplin-area Guard unit efforts specifically garnering the attention of the Wal-Mart Foundation, said Wal-Mart grant giving specialist Martha Bradley.

"(The Guard's) efforts have made a true and lasting impact in the rebuilding of this community," Bradley said.

Missouri National Guard units responded to the Joplin tornado within hours of the natural disaster. Some 25 Guard members remain on duty as Task Force Phoenix, currently supervising and monitoring work-crew members under the state's Disaster Recovery Jobs Program.

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