Butterfly Sculptures Unveiled to Commemorate Tornado Anniversary
May 20, 2016
To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the May 22, 2011, tornado, two butterfly sculptures were unveiled at Freeman Hospital West and Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism.
To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the May 22, 2011, tornado, two butterfly sculptures were unveiled at Freeman Hospital West and Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism. More than 20 large butterfly sculptures have been placed around the Joplin community as a symbol of growth and transformation.
“No one will forget the aftermath of the May 2011 tornado,” said Paula F. Baker, Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer. “This butterfly is a reminder that a community can overcome extreme devastation. As our community recovered, we learned we are brave, resilient and generous and can face anything the future presents.”
Mason Lillard, a survivor of the storm, spoke of her journey. Lillard was impaled by a metal rod that entered her upper arm, punctured a lung and exited through her back. She was reunited with the physician who performed life-saving surgery to remove the rod, Dr. Raymond Vetsch, Freeman Cardiothoracic Surgeon.
At Freeman Hospital West, the butterfly, which was painted by artists Percilla Penner and Tricia Courtney, was installed near the Beacon of Hope Tornado Memorial. The memorial was created to serve as a place of reflection. The words compassion, bravery, selflessness, heroism, and dedication are wrapped around the base of the memorial, a reminder of the immeasurable role the medical community played after the storm.
Additionally, Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism unveiled its butterfly sculpture. A donation from Quapaw Tribe and Downstream Casino and Resort, the butterfly is decorated in vibrant oranges and yellow and was inspired by world-renowned autism spokesperson, Temple Grandin.
Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, formerly known as Ozark Center for Autism, was destroyed in the May 22, 2011, tornado. Despite the loss, services resumed in less than one week, and staff operated in temporary facilities until a new building was dedicated in November 2015.
About Freeman Health System
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. For 2016, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report ranked Freeman one of the top Hospitals in Southwest Missouri more than four years in a row, and The Leapfrog Group gave Freeman the highest grade possible in the Fall 2015 Hospital Safety Score. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 60 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart and vascular care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit freemanhealth.com or facebook.com/freemanhealthsystem or follow Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker at twitter.com/freemanceo.