Tragedy to Triumph: A Wedding Story in Joplin

Tornado damage in Joplin, Wedding of Kelsi and KyleOut in Joplin, things have been pretty rough since a tornado ripped through the town earlier this year. In Iraq, things are not much better. The Today Show recently featured a couple, Kelsi and Kyle Maddy, who just married. Their reception was held in the diner where he worked after the storm ruined their homes, many peoples’ lives, and sadly, their wedding plans.

Kyle’s boss, Donnie Bennett, is a retired Army Captain who served in Iraq. He met his wife there under tumultuous conditions, so they know too well how love and hardship can sometimes intermix. The Bennett’s now own a diner in Joplin called, “Caldone’s,”  named in honor of  one of Bennett’s fallen comrades during the war in Iraq. They catered Kelsi and Kyle’s reception for free, and diner patrons helped raise money for the young couple by leaving generous tips on regular bills.

As far as the Joplin storm went, Bennett and his Iraqi wife, Karuleen, were lucky; they were on vacation with Caldone's restaurant, wedding reception site in Joplintheir sons when the tornado hit. Amazingly, their home and restaurant were fine. They’ve been helping their community rebuild, offering free office space to one neighbor, and of course, good food and respite in their restaurant. Their giving spirit is known around the town of Joplin, and Kelsi and Kyle can certainly attest to their generosity. They were fortunate enough to receive $4,000 from Caldone’s patrons, money that the Bennett’s gave to them.  And since Kelsi’s wedding dress, although water-stained, was the only thing to survive the tornado, they certainly needed the money.

Kelsi and Kyle were recently married in a ceremony under a peaceful Joplin sky. There were tears, but they were joyous this time,  something the city desperately needed. This story is really quite touching, and we just wanted to share it with all of our Stegton readers. Congratulations to Kelsi and Kyle from your neighbors up in the St. Louis area!

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