On May 22, 2011 an EF5 tornado smashed into Joplin, Missouri destroying lives, homes and businesses.
It was the deadliest tornado on record since 1950. 161 people died with more than 950 injured.
While helping people in the storm's aftermath, Tricia was surrounded by the enormous amount of destruction the tornado caused. Friends familiar with the found object angels she had been making since 2005 suggested she do the same using tornado debris. Courtney was initially concerned about the appropriateness of the idea. But after hearing the many stories concerning angels during the tornado, she was inspired to begin.
Process from the sales of angels have been given to various charitable organizations and schools and many have been donated for fundraising.
From Spiva Center for the Arts newsletter -
Tricia Courtney's Angels Inspire Extreme Makeover
When a senior design producer from Extreme Makeover Home Edition visited Spiva to see On the Other Side, it was Tricia Courtney's angel made of tornado debris that she felt would be a perfect fit for the home she was working on.
Extreme spoke to Courtney about creating another angel specifically for one of seven homes built by crew and volunteers in the weeklong effort. She wound up creating two debris angels, both of which were prominently placed in the new home.
The pieces Courtney used for the Extreme Makeover angels were found in several different parts of the tornado path. She also used pieces from inside a storage unit on 4th Street that burned down following the tornado. Spiva director Jo Mueller and her husband, Don Ayers, were keeping items salvaged from their storm damaged home in the unit.
The Extreme Home containing Courtney's angel belongs to the Kari and Justin Nevins family, active Spiva members. During the planning phase of art selection, neither Spiva, nor Courtney, nor Extreme Home knew just how appropriate these angels would be.
In 2014 Sharon Dickinson from Seward Nebraska asked me to create a couple of angels out of the tornado debris that resulted from the Mother’s Day EF4 tornado that hit the Beaver Crossing, Nebraska community and surrounding rural areas last May.
Sharon asked me if I would donate one of the angels to the 2nd annual Heartfelt Gala. Sharon is part of this organization in Seward that supports parents who have lost children. They are in the process of building a Children’s Memorial. Information about this organization can be found at or on Facebook at Heartfelt Incorporated (Seward, NE). The other angel will be donated to the community of Beaver Crossing.
With the help of one of her friends in Beaver Crossing, Sharon gathered some tornado debris. She and her sister Yvonne Meyer from Joplin, brought me the debris and I created two angels. I added a few pieces from the May 22nd Joplin tornado to show our connection.