PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s been tough for Jack Jewsbury to view from afar the suffering caused by the tornado that ripped through his birthplace, Joplin, Mo., this spring.
But at least Jewsbury, the nine-year MLS veteran and Portland Timbers captain, can take solace in the fact that his efforts have helped directly in the rebuilding process.
Jewsbury and the Timbers’ partnership with the American Red Cross has allowed fans to make donations to the Joplin disaster relief. In addition to fans being encouraged to help by texting in donations, Red Cross representatives were also on hand at JELD-WEN Field during the May 29 game against D.C. United to collect donations.
Those efforts have earned Jewsbury the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month award for August.
“I just appreciate the organization here; as soon as they heard how close to home this was for me, they jumped right on board,” Jewsbury said. “And that meant a lot. That shows the class of the organization.”
Jewsbury was born in Joplin, the town that was devastated by a May 22 twister that killed more than 100 people, making it the nation’s deadliest tornado in 60 years, and spent the first “four or five years” of his life there before his family moved to nearby Springfield, Mo. But his uncle still lives in Joplin and lost his truck-accessories business in the storm, in addition to a number of other family members who were affected.
“It’s obviously a work in progress, and a lot needs to be done,” Jewsbury said.
He said he receives frequent updates from his father and recently learned that his uncle has been able to find a new location for his business. One of Jewsbury’s cousins lost a home, as did another aunt and uncle.
“From everything I’ve heard and the support I’ve gotten, especially from people who don’t have any ties to that area, to jump on board as quick as they did and for the fans to help is something that has meant a lot,” Jewsbury said.
Jewsbury said the rigors of the Timbers' schedule has prevented him from getting back to Joplin to help physically, but he said the Red Cross partnership has allowed him to feel part of the rebuilding process in another way.
“With what we do it kind of gives you an outlet to help out where maybe other people might not be able to,” he said. “From afar, it makes you feel like you were actually a part of the relief, and that makes you feel a lot better about things.”