Another contribution from our loyal Donut Hunter, Bob Caselden, this is a story of hope, of re-building and of being thankful for who and what you have especially when you have donuts.
Throughout many of the small towns which dot the landscape of the United States we find the best hidden gems of Americana, entreprenuerialism and that spirit that couples nostalgia with the courage to risk it all and build a community. Quite often these are the places we find our best homemade donut shops, nestled in a corner of "Main Street", an institution for the locals and a symbol of what America was built on to all who pass by; dreams. Whether a young child dreams of their parents taking them in to the local donut shop on the weekend to share some quality time and a little sugar, or the entrepreneur dreams of building a family business, a legacy, it's all contained within.
As is the natural course when dreams are built, they are also sometimes taken away; as happened to the residents of Joplin, Mo, this past May. One of those residents in particular is Dude Pendergraft, now 80 years old, the quintessential picture of the mid-west pioneer spirit, and the owner Dude's Daylight Donuts, or what's left of it thank to the tornadoes which decimated the town.
Dude surveys the space that used to be home to his doughnut shop, now just one of those empty slabs. The tornado also destroyed his house, which was right behind his shop. Still, Pendergraft is rebuilding the business, with a new, prefab building — one that will go up quick. His son, Allen, is in charge of getting a new sign.
"We'll try to make it as close to the original as possible. Hopefully within about two or three months, it will be back shining in the night again, I hope," Allen Pendergraft says.
It's this type of spirit that our country is so in need of in these difficult economic and political times. Whether natural disasters take away everything we have built, or our own desires and egos get in the way, we need to remember that it's the people that count. As long as we have them there is nothing our spirits can't rebuild.
Next time you drive through Joplin, Mo, look for Dude and sit down, have a donut, and remember how lucky we all are.
For the Full story on Dude and rebuilding Joplin, Mo please visit:
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