We left the KOA early to meet up with Misti of Misti’s Mission. She runs a national storehouse for disaster relief supplies and was kind enough to let us camp on her property while we are in Joplin. We filmed her employees working and watched her lay the hammer down at a team meeting.
We went to the Joplin airport at 3:15 to get our camera equipment set up for the Secret Service screening. We met Matt, the White House airport lead, who is a Computer Science student going to school in Boston.
While talking to the press in the holding area we spent a couple of hours with Jeff Piotrowski, a veteran storm chaser who filmed the Joplin tornado from a distance of just a couple hundred yards. He helped get the tornado sirens running and was there digging people out of rubble within minutes. He said that of the hundreds of storms he has chased over decades this one was more destructive than any other.
Air Force One landed and a cavalcade appeared out of nowhere. When Obama got off the plane he shook hands with Sen. Claire McCaskill, Gov. Jay Nixon, Missouri First Lady Georganne Nixon, Rep. Billy Long and Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean. From 50 feet away Obama waved and asked “What’s up everybody?” We filmed the President shaking hands with residents of Joplin waiting for him and then he left for the High School.
While we waited for Air Force One to depart we worked on processing video and chatted with Secret Service agents. Obama’s convoy rolled into the airport and the plane was in the air less than five minutes later. Our Crew noted that the President had a bit of swagger when he walked from the limo up into the plane.