Joplin native serves the U.S. Navy at Naval Air Station Sigonella
From the Navy Office of Community Outreach
SIGONELLA, Italy — Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Walker, a native of Joplin, Missouri, serves the U.S. Navy at the U.S. Navy Medical Readiness and Training Command operating out of Sigonella, Italy.
Walker joined the Navy five years ago. Today, Walker serves as a hospital corpsman.
“I wanted to travel, see different cultures and have new experiences,” said Walker.
Growing up in Joplin, Walker attended Seneca High School and graduated in 2017. Today, Walker uses the same skills and values learned in Joplin to succeed in the military.
“I learned hard work and accountability growing up,” said Walker. “This has helped tremendously in my Navy career.”
These lessons have helped Walker while serving in the Navy.
Naval Air Station Sigonella is located in eastern Sicily. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and covers 10,000 square miles.
According to Navy officials, the primary mission of Naval Air Station Sigonella is to provide consolidated operational, command and control, administrative, logistical and advanced logistical support to U.S. and other NATO forces. Naval Air Station Sigonella supports a rotation of various squadrons and multi-service, multi-national transient aircraft.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
Walker and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“I enjoy being able to work with civilian mariners and see how they work,” said Walker. “I did inspection work with them and it was very rewarding.”
As Walker and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving has been a good experience,” added Walker. “I’m getting out in a few months and will always remember my time in the Navy, and the unique experiences I gained through service.”
Truman Presidential Library & Museum expanding to full operations
From the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum will expand hours for the public and restore full museum and research operations in a phased process. Guests may purchase museum tickets both at the door and in advance at trumanlibrary.gov.
• Effective this week, the museum will expand its hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday and the gift shop will reopen. The research room resumes operations April 4.
• On Monday, April 25, the museum will expand to visitors to six days a week, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
• On Sunday, May 8, in honor of President Truman’s birthday, the museum will resume daily operations, opening Sundays from noon-5 p.m.
“It is great to restore the Truman Library to full operations with our terrific new museum,” said Kurt Graham, director of the Truman Presidential Library & Museum. “With the pandemic receding, we are ready to embrace our guests and fully open our doors so they can experience this fabulous state-of-the-art exhibition about President Truman’s uniquely American story.”
“We are deeply appreciative of the support from the community and donors around the world during our transformation,” said Alex Burden, executive director of the Truman Library Institute, which led the fundraising for the $29 million project. “While the pandemic delayed the full re-opening, visitors will see that it was worth the wait. The new museum exhibition is worth the wait. The Truman Library sets the standard for presidential libraries.”
The Truman Library Research Room re-opens for the first time since the pandemic began. This provides historians, biographers, scholars and other researchers expanded access to the rich trove of archival material on the Truman Presidency and post-war America. Reservations are required.
Masks are now voluntary for visitors because local health conditions have improved. If local health conditions deteriorate, the Truman Library may require masking inside and set capacity limits for public and educational programs. Museum services and hours were limited under guidelines from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
Museum general admission is $12 with discounts for seniors, students, veterans and active members of the U.S. military. Admission is free for members and children 12 and younger. Museum services and hours are limited under guidelines from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Starting April 6, hours will be 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Tickets are once again available at the door. Advance tickets remain available at TrumanLibrary.gov.
Truman Library & Museum visitors will encounter a cinematic experience exploring some of the most dramatic chapters of world history. Museum highlights include:
• Immersive sound-and-light theaters depicting WWI and the Cold War
• 14-foot interactive globe exploring the hard problems of peace following WWII
• Expanded insight on Truman’s leadership on Civil Rights and the recognition of Israel
• Fresh perspective on Truman’s family, including Bess Truman’s role as advisor and confidante
• Loyalty Review Board role-playing game where players uncover government disloyalty during the Red Scare
Group tours are available by contacting Visitor Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (816) 268-8221.
Wisper Internet connecting Afghanistan refugees
From Wisper Internet
Imagine leaving everything you have ever known, with only the clothes on your back. Boarding a military plane for an unknown destination leaving behind family, friends and loved ones not knowing if they will live or die.
This was the case for 22 Afghan families who now call Missouri and the communities of Joplin and Carl Junction, home, with the assistance of the Raise Community.
In recent weeks, Wisper Internet, based in Mascoutah, Ill., has been instrumental in keeping those families connected to their families now under the grip of a totalitarian regime. Helping them learn English, find jobs, obtain driver’s licenses and connecting the refugee children with education through fixed wireless internet.
During the frantic 17 days of airlifts from Kabul International Airport, last August, 123,000 Afghanis were evacuated and 77,000 of those approved to come to the U.S. were originally taken to military bases before spreading to communities like Joplin all over the country.
Raise Community social worker and housing coordinator Tammy Nyachira explained the organization of volunteers based in Joplin originally signed up to accept and house 50 refugees coming from the Afghanistan evacuation, but that number quickly ballooned.
Nyachira explained the people now living in the Joplin and Carl Junction communities were lucky enough to be evacuated because they or someone in their family unit had assisted the U.S. military in some way, shape or form over the last 20 years, but it wasn’t without consequences.
“They were lucky to leave with just their basic paperwork and nothing but the clothes on their backs,” Nyachira said. “They came with hardly anything. What they have now, they were given at the military bases in America. Some were living in basic camps on the bases and others, like in St. Louis, were in hotels in Indiana and Washington D.C.”
For some of the refugees the consequences were even greater and Nyachira said each individual family still has various levels vulnerability and concerns for their safety here as well as the safety of their loved ones still under Taliban rule.
Many have had family members killed and one woman had both of her parents murdered. Another man and his family narrowly missed a suicide bomber who was able to approach Kabul International Airport’s Abbey Gate, where he detonated an explosive device that killed 13 U.S. troops and about 170 Afghans.
“He had his family in that location for two days,” Nyachira said. “For some reason, he doesn’t know why, he decided to try another spot and missed being killed in the blast by a matter of minutes. He told me ‘It could have been us.’ The amount of trauma and loss these people have endured is unbelievable to think about.”
Unlike refugees in St. Louis and other areas, a goal of the Raise Community was to get their refugees into actual homes and duplexes as soon as possible.
Nyachira said this has helped the families feel more comfortable in their new country and promotes a sense of community while starting new lives from scratch.
As of April 1, Wisper has successfully connected 15 of those families with wireless broadband internet overcoming language barriers and challenges of not possessing identification like driver’s licenses or Social Security cards. Future Wisper projects for other refugee families are also ongoing.
“We have a great appreciation for Wisper and how helpful they were in the process,” Nyachira said. “I have worked with other utilities, and they seem to make things harder than they need to be. Wisper did everything they could to ease the burden and get them hooked up.”
Nyachira added working with Wisper and other groups during the refugee resettlement process has renewed her soul.
“To see people accommodating people who don’t look like us or pray like us,” Nyachira said. “It’s been a hopeful experience.”
Wisper founder and CEO Nathan Stooke said connecting communities is Wisper’s sole aim. Employees are encouraged to do the right thing, even when it may be the more difficult option.
Wisper is a tribe of humbly confident life-long learners, driving to solution and continuously committing to serve one another in the relentless pursuit of a better customer experience.
“These families have been through the unimaginable and will continue to have those scars,” Stooke said. “If Wisper as a company and our employees can do anything to ease their struggle, it is an honor to provide an essential utility to start their new lives. A small gesture from us, means the world to others.”
Nyachira explained the Afghan children are the most proficient using the internet and they have entered the public-school systems at various times as they settle into their new communities. The Muslim families have also become members of the Mosque in Joplin.
Each day the men and women attend separate English as a second language classes as they are pursuing driver’s licenses so they can get to and from jobs.
“Each family receives about $1,025 from the government each month,” Nyachira said. “They are impatient, excited and eager to work to not only have money for their families here, but to also send money back home. Many of their loved ones are living in squalor and starving.”
Open Mindedness Welcome
The Raise community began in 2018 in the Noel, Mo. area by helping refugee families from Africa and the Pacific Islands.
That area was attractive for refugees due to the large Tyson Foods production facility offering jobs for 40 or 60 refugees.
The current Afghanistan project began in October with welcome teams from local churches.
“We picked Joplin because it was the biggest “small town” and it is very community oriented,” Nyachira said. “People here (in Joplin) were extremely helpful with property owners and accommodating our new residents despite their challenges. We are a bit overwhelmed and there certainly are needs. Donations are always welcome, but so are well wishes and open mindedness.”
More information and to help the Raise Community financially can be found at www.raisecommunity.org, or www.facebook.com/RAISEcommunity.
Wisper ISP, LLC, based in Mascoutah, Ill., is a wireless internet service provider with 200 employees and 20,000 subscribers across Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Visit www.wisperisp.com to learn more about Wisper’s homegrown internet.
Since 2003 Wisper has provided fixed wireless internet to both rural and urban communities and was the 2019 recipient of $220 million through the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund.
Wisper cares about small towns, because that’s where we live too.
Pittsburg Beautiful begins new Pittsburg Pride Pack campaign
From Pittsburg Beautiful
Pittsburg Beautiful has announced the start of their new community-wide anti-littering campaign. They are looking for community and business sponsors to become members of the Pittsburg Pride Pack — the “PPPs.”
All that is needed is a 30 minute per month commitment to pick up the litter in your sponsored area or chosen street. Sponsors sign a commitment form and are given a vinyl sticker to proudly display on their business window or car.
Information can be found on the Pittsburg Beautiful Facebook page along with “shout-outs” for new joining members. For details, reach out to Stephanie Watts at 407-456-0460.
Together we can make Pittsburg even more beautiful.