Obama "amazed" at Joplin destruction: Mo. gov.

When President Obama toured Joplin, Mo., Sunday, he was "amazed" at the extent of the damage, says Missouri Governor Gov. Jay Nixon.

"I think he was amazed at the size of the debris field -- the size and the total devastation for houses along the way," Nixon told "Early Show" co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis Monday. "But we were heartened to hear his commitment to their partnership. We've been working hard ourselves with all the state, federal and local agencies. And I can guarantee we will have a full partnership to help rebuild Joplin."

Nixon says he didn't ask Mr. Obama for anything in particular, or press him for financial aid. "Yesterday was a day of memorial for our state," Nixon says. "We're working through all of the agencies and everyone has been very, very helpful. I did not see yesterday as a time -- I wanted to get his eyes on what was going on here. But more importantly, we wanted to pause and pray for the families. We still have unaccounted for folks out there. We still have folks that are -- you know, bodies being released to families. We still have DNA tests going on. And while there's clearly a spirit of rebirth moving all across Joplin, much remains to be done."

Nixon pointed out that, "This is the deadliest ... single tornado in the country's history (with more than 130 people killed by the twister). You've got upwards of 8,000 buildings destroyed, three schools, churches, thousands and thousands of homes. Hundreds and hundreds of injuries, hundreds of deaths. This is a massive rebuilding process that I'm glad to see the president pledged a hand-in-hand work to (accomplish).

"We're working through all of our damage assessments. We're going to obviously get, you know, the most in that sense that we can (in the form of help from the Washington).

"But the most important part is to have the resolve of the people to rebuild. You've seen in some areas like this where folks have, you know, not come back to those cities and it's taken literally decades to rebuild the population. I think Joplin's going to be much different than that. The resolve there is much different. And I'm focused -- the money things, we'll work to make sure and be very aggressive. ... But the most important thing is that spirit there, and continuing the Good Samaritan spirit of people coming from all across the country to help us."

CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy has noticed much the same thing, reporting from Joplin Monday on "The Early Show" that, "Almost everywhere you go in this town right now, you also see a lot of this. American flags are everywhere. Signs of mourning and hope."

Survivors and others gathered for a moment of silence Sunday at 5:41 when, a week earlier, the tornado so violently changed Joplin.

The president addressed a memorial service Sunday, saying to loud cheers, "The cameras may leave, the spotlight may shift, but we will be with you every step of the way, until Joplin is restored and this community is back on its feet. We're not going anywhere."

People are now dividing up into debris piles what was once their homes, Tracy noted. The city will start hauling it away this week. "So," Tracy said, "there are sounds and signs of hope nearly everywhere in Joplin this Memorial Day. Their spirit is still alive, even if it is a little tattered. Of course, as of this morning, there are still more than 40 people missing. So for many families in Joplin, there is no thought yet of moving on."

Tracy noted that one of the fatalities last Sunday was 37-year-old Jay Petty, who was an U.S. Army Ranger for two years, in Somalia.

"He had this dedication," Petty's finance, Lisa Hartman, told CBS News through ears. "I mean, he never stopped. It was -- it was like he was always on a mission."

Comments