PORTLAND — For Jack Jewsbury, Tuesday’s Portland Timbers practice session and today’s exhibition match against Dutch power Ajax provide a little respite from the uncertainty and the worry.
Jewsbury was born in Joplin, Mo., which on Sunday was struck by America’s deadliest tornado in six decades.
Jewsbury’s parents now live in Springfield, Mo., but some of his relatives lost homes and businesses in the disaster.
“My dad was the first one to contact me and let me know what was going on,” Jewsbury said.
“The scary part about it originally was some of the cell phone towers were down in the area due to the tornado, so you couldn’t get ahold of everybody,” Jewsbury said. “So you kind of hoped that everyone was safe, but you just had that kind of eerie feeling that you didn’t know, and didn’t know how long it was going to be until you did know.”
The news Jewsbury eventually received was both good, and unsettling.
“Everyone’s safe, but a few of them lost quite a bit,” Jewsbury said. “An aunt and uncle lost a home, an uncle lost a business, a cousin lost a house and both of their vehicles.”
Jewsbury said his father, Jack Jewsbury II, planned to travel on Tuesday to Joplin to assist his twin brothers, Jack’s uncles Terry Jewsbury and Jerry Jewsbury, with cleanup. With storms still raging in the region on Tuesday, the Timbers’ captain was wishing there was more he could do than follow the weather reports.
“I wish I could be there to help more,” Jewsbury said.
Jewsbury thanked the Timbers for quickly joining the relief effort. The team has joined with the American Red Cross to raise funds to assist Joplin, and will be accepting donations from fans at Sunday’s home game against D.C. United.
Fans can text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to donate $10 to help with the effort.
“The city has a long way to go in terms of that rebuilding process, but I’m sure, just as all Americans do, they will bounce back quickly,” said Jewsbury, who played eight MLS seasons in Kansas City before being traded to Portland in March. “Midwest people are hard workers, blue collar, will fight and work together to get it done.”