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Joplin seeks renewal as death toll rises to 125

Before Sunday, the former mining boomtown of Joplin was perhaps best known -- if known at all to many Americans -- as a sometime home base for outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, and as a stop along Historic Route 66. Now, it is the site of the nation's eighth-deadliest tornado.

The The death toll from the F5 tordando that tore through town on Sunday has risen to 125, with at least 900 injured.

Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr also told reporters Wednesday evening that a third day of search and rescue efforts had not found any new survivors amid the debris.

On Wednesday, arduous rescue and recovery work went on, with crews repeating grid searches that started immediately after the storm. Officials restated their hope of finding more survivors, while leaders of St. John's Regional Medical Center, which took a direct hit, sent in structural engineers to see if the hospital could be saved.

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"It truly was like a bomb went off almost on every floor," said Gary Pulsipher, the hospital's chief executive.

Lynn Britton, president and chief executive of Sisters of Mercy Health Systems, praised the "heroic" efforts by staff and others who helped in the storm's aftermath and said a temporary hospital would be running near the site by Sunday. Patient information was safe after the hospital moved from paper to electronic records in May.

CBS News correspondent Don Teague reports that, for residents of Joplin, the shock is finally wearing off, and the work of moving on is underway.

An army of utility crews are working to restore electricity and water, as well as remove a mountain of debris.

All across Joplin, search crews continue to scour ruined buildings for possible victims or survivors.

"There's always hope that you can find someone alive, all you can do is hope and pray," said Mark Ballman with the Missouri Regency K9 team.

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Cell phones are finally working well here, and that change is expected to dramatically lower the number of missing people, which for now is in the hundreds.

Joplin schools were ravaged by the twister and classes have been canceled for the rest of the school year, but district officials are trying to locate both faculty and many of the school's 2,200 students. The effort has been crippled by downed phone lines. Some students have been located using Facebook.

"We just want to be able to find who we can find and then as confirmation happens offer support to the families if we find out that a kid didn't make it," Joplin High Principal Kerry Sachetta said.

Residents say the city will survive this disaster.

For proof, look no further than St. Mary's Church. The building is gone, but the church members are ministering to the community with money, handing out $100 checks to anyone in need, often bringing tears to recipients eyes.

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Joplin's heart was certainly broken by the storm, but its resilience is something that residents don't even question. Resident Vince Martinez exemplifies that.

Martinez, 68, is no stranger to devastation. He served with the 3rd Marine Division in Da Nang during the Vietnam War.

Martinez's Marine Corps Active Wear on 20th is a total loss, what's left of his stock drying in the parking lot. But the former staff sergeant says Joplin residents should take heart from the words on his shirt. Semper Fi: Always Faithful.

"They'll survive, just like any other city in this country," he says. "This is the United States. You can take THAT one to the bank."

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