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April 8, 2006

Tigers touched again by tornadoes

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For the second time in a month, violent tornadoes ripped through the state of Missouri and their destruction has directly affected the Missouri football team.

"I had a couple friends that their families, the whole house is blown away," said sophomore running back Jimmy Jackson. "Ain't much you can do about it. Mother Nature."

Jackson is from Caruthersville, Missouri. That town was featured in a report on NBC Nightly News earlier this week as one of the areas most devastated by the latest round of tornadoes.

"It just hurts you," Jackson said. "People you've known all your life, to see them in a crisis like that, it's just terrible."

Jackson's immediate family is fine, as is his house. The Jacksons were more fortunate than redshirt freshman offensive lineman Kurtis Gregory. On March 12th, a tornado leveled the house of Gregory's older sister in Arrow Rock, Missouri.

"I never thought that would happen to us," Gregory told the Columbia Daily Tribune. "When I was a little kid, every time there was a storm warning, my dad would always say, 'It's not going to come here.' "

Following that storm, Gary Pinkel and his staff donated $1,000 to the family of Stephanie Keller. The Tigers also have plans to help the most recent victims of the state's storms.

"I asked Jimmy if there was anything I can do," said Tiger safety William Moore. "We're supposed to go down there, next time we're down there, and make some donations, take some clothing to some of the kids, whatever we can do."

Moore came to Mizzou from Hayti, just six miles northeast of Caruthersville.

"There are a lot of people that I know from Jimmy's area," said Moore. "It basically hit in Caruthersville, where Jimmy's from, so a lot of people from there that I know. I had my mom go check on Jimmy's parents, see if they're all right."

Both Moore and Jackson stay in close contact with a number of people in the area. Both are searching for any way they can help those hurt by the tornadoes.

"They support us and we support them," Moore said. "It's sad we had to see it due to a tornado, but at the same time, like I told Jimmy, whatever you need, I got it."




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