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KSL's Lori Prichard describes destruction in hometown of Joplin, Mo.


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JOPLIN, Mo. — More than 120 people have died from the tornado that leveled Joplin, Mo., Sunday night. KSL sent me back to my hometown to cover the story of destruction.

I know the city of Joplin like no other. I know the streets, I know the landmarks. And driving around here this evening, I just don't recognize it; I've gotten lost twice.

But in talking to my friends, I know that this city will rebuild and will move forward.

Tuesday, I was with local attorney Jon Bhend as he sifted through the rubble of his law practice. He spent all day there Sunday working, but he left just a few minutes before the tornado struck.

Bhend, still stunned by the enormity of it all, said he's lucky: His livelihood may be gone, but his life is intact.

"I dodged two bullets, the way I feel about it," he said, "one at my office and one at the house."

After the tornado hit, Bhend went back to find his office in ruins. Across the street, people were running out of St. John's Hospital.

"The thing that it makes me think about is all the people who didn't make it," Bhend said. "I think the whole town is in shock. I'm just happy to be alive."

In interest of full disclosure, Jon Bhend and his wife are some of my very best friends.

He can count himself lucky, while some of our other friends can't. We lost two of our friends that we know of; many have lost homes, and others just haven't been accounted for.

Email: lprichard@ksl.com

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