As more details have emerged about the deadly tornadoes that ripped through Illinois on Sunday, more people outside the disaster zones have realized how they, too, were affected.
When a huge twister flattened parts of Washington, Ill., with 190-mph winds, sons and daughters of the Sauk Valley were in harm’s way.
Sauk Valley Media had a story Tuesday about how Alyssa Valdez and Beau Ebenezer, graduates of Rock Falls High School, huddled in a bathtub while the tornado destroyed their second-floor apartment and Valdez’s vehicle. Both survived with minor injuries.
A story Wednesday described how a former Oregon couple, Jason and Sarah Earl, and their three children returned from church to find their Washington home destroyed. All they have left are their car and the clothes they were wearing.
The Washington tornado was one of at least 15 twisters to strike Illinois. Hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged across the state; six people were killed.
In the wake of the storm, area residents have shown heart-warming generosity toward the victims.
The Rock Falls Fire Department has sent a generator to Washington.
Friends of the Earls in Oregon are collecting money and gift cards for the couple.
Kreider Services, 500 Anchor Road in Dixon, began a collection for people who want to donate items to help.
A trailer at Razor Wireless, 955 N. Galena Ave. in Dixon, will accept donated items for victims for the next several days.
Jefferson and Reagan schools, in Dixon, will also accept items for the storm victims.
A tornado relief fund has been established in hard-hit Washington. The address is Washington Community Bank, 1895 Washington Road, Washington, IL 61571. The Central Illinois Red Cross chapter, 311 W. John H. Gwynn Jr. Ave., Peoria, IL 61605, is also accepting donations.
Washington Mayor Gary Manier vowed that his community would rebound. “We’re going to be here for a while, needing assistance and help, so please don’t forget about us,” he said.
Let’s also not forget how weather warning systems gave many people enough time to seek shelter and survive.
Extending generosity toward the victims, and being alert when weather conditions turn nasty, are two apt responses to Sunday’s tornado outbreak.