FAIRDALE, Ill. (AP) — More than 1,000 volunteers helped the residents of two northern Illinois communities hit by tornadoes last week clear away debris and sift through personal items that could be salvaged.
So many volunteers descended on Fairdale and Rochelle on Saturday, including some from out of state, that organizers had to rush to make more of the applications volunteers were required to complete.
“The incident itself is overwhelming,” said Ogle County Sheriff Brian Van Vickle, whose house in Rochelle was among those destroyed during Thursday’s storms, which spawned eight tornadoes in northern and central Illinois.
Among the volunteers were some who brought dogs to comfort those whose lives were upended by the twisters, including the powerful EF4 tornado that Fairdale, where two people were killed and 22 others were injured.
Ashley Yoder, who traveled from Cincinnati to help, said she hoped that by clearing away debris, she’d make things easier on the residents of the affected communities.
Most of the damage from Thursday’s storms was in Rochelle and Fairdale, where a total of about 120 buildings were damaged or destroyed.
Clem Schultz, whose wife, Geraldine Schultz, was one of the two people killed, was reunited with their dog, Missy, on Saturday after a ComEd worker spotted the animal in a field.
A Facebook page called “Fairdale and Rochelle Illinois Pet Recovery” was created in the hopes of reuniting families with their pets that may have run off when the tornadoes hit.