The images of the deadly tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo. last week were tough for anyone to see, but especially tough for Joplin native Jamie McMurray. Initially dismissing the tornado by thinking Joplin has a tornado every year, McMurray was amazed at the destruction he saw.
"When you see the pictures, it just makes it more real," McMurray said. "It's incredible to see the damage the tornado did."
McMurray said he received texts and calls from fellow drivers, and all of his sponsors reached out asking how they could help his hometown cope with the disaster. Johnny Morris of Bass Pro Shops was one of the first to call and Irwin Tools – a former sponsor when McMurray was at Roush Fenway Racing – sent 250 pairs of gloves to help with the search.
Among the devastation was McMurray's high school and childhood home.
"The high school that was destroyed is the high school I attended," McMurray said. "They showed pictures of the neighborhood I grew up in, and it was gone. I had a friend text me pictures of the house I grew up in; he said the only part of the house that was left was the address on the front wall. When you look at pictures of the house, there is no background. It's hard to figure what you are looking at."
While his family has relocated to North Carolina, McMurray continues to call Joplin home and has many friends in the area.
"Joplin is home to me...just the way it was," he said. "For a long time, it will be about Joplin."