kcstarjoplin

The Jumps

On a recent spring day, Larry and Amy Jump’s middle son bolted from their home on South Joplin Avenue with a ragged stuffed dog.

“This is Waggles,” said a smiling Caden, 10. “She’s my favorite stuffed animal.”

As she was five years ago. The tornado had just passed, and as the Jump family huddled under a blanket in their basement, the young boy realized what was missing.

“That’s all he was screaming for — ‘I want Waggles!’” Amy Jump recalled.

The couple searched through what was left of their home. After The Star wrote about the missing Waggles, people wanted updates. Some wanted to buy the boy a new stuffed animal.

Caden has Waggles today because a volunteer found her buried in rubble.

“(Caden) was so happy,” his mother said. “… That was the best day after the storm.”

Since then, the Jumps have rebuilt, buying the lot next door and putting up a bigger home. Even though the family members survived in their basement five years ago, they wanted to make sure they had extra protection if another tornado came through.

“Our closet is a safe room,” Amy Jump said. “So we have somewhere to go.”

Only one of their neighbors, a woman who lives behind them, also stayed. The neighborhood is quiet now, but Jump thinks Joplin is the same town of friendly people.

“The trees are gone, but other than that, it’s the same,” she said.

She sees, though, how she has changed since May 2011.

“I don’t take people for granted,” she said. “… I appreciate the little things more.”

Like Waggles.

“Every time I look at it, I think mostly happy stuff,” she said. “We never expected to see that again.”

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