Donated student desks and chairs arrived in Joplin, Mo., just in time for school thanks to electrical distributor Western Extralite Co., Kansas City, Mo. The desks and chairs will be used by ninth and tenth grade students who will temporarily attend classes in the Memorial Education Center until their high school is rebuilt. The high school was one of six schools destroyed and three damaged in a May 22 tornado that tore through the city of Joplin.

The donated desks and chairs were no longer needed by students at Leavenworth High School after the purchase of new equipment. Matt Dedeke, the Leavenworth School District's assistant director of buildings and grounds, contacted Western Extralite to ask if the company would be willing to cover the cost of delivering the surplus furniture to the Joplin School District. Western Extralite Operations Manager Kurt Kisker and Warehouse Manager Dave Mathia arranged for their company to contract with Lanier Trucking and pay for the delivery to Joplin. Western Extralite has a long relationship with the Leavenworth school district supplying electrical and datacomm products.

On a Friday in the heat of summer, Leavenworth School District maintenance staff, high school athletes and members of the Junior ROTC loaded the desks and chairs, which were delivered to the Joplin School District the next day.

“It couldn't have come at a better time. School starts August 17. The buildings are just ready and we are about to move in furniture,” said Joplin School District spokesperson Jim Dunn. “We're very grateful for the desks and chairs. Desks are part and parcel to having school so this is an important gift.”

“We were pleased to be able to assist the Leavenworth School District in delivering surplus student desks and chairs to Joplin, where they are needed,” said Western Extralite President Tom Isenberg. “By working together, we were able to help the families of Joplin who have lost so much.”