Volunteers help Illinois community rebuild after tornado

Volunteers help Illinois community rebuild after tornado

The clean-up in northern Illinois continued over the weekend after Thursday’s tornado left behind dozens of homes in shambles.

Fairdale and Rochelle, a small town of about 10,000 people, suffered a majority of the damage. 72-year-old Doug Fisher’s home there was nearly destroyed by the storm while he watched from inside.

“It happened very, very quickly,” Fisher said. “The windows exploded, and I heard the noise so I got out of my chair – which was a good thing. Where I was sitting, I would’ve got wacked.”

Two days later, Fisher says it’s tough to see the aftermath.

“Pretty devastating – especially 150-year-old trees all lying on the ground,” he said.

All across Doug’s Rochelle neighborhood, you can see the damage done – but you also see what that damage has brought to this community.  Dozens of volunteers from across state lines in every direction have lent whatever they can. Some Madison-based American Family adjusters are spending their weekend helping homeowners weave through what’s left.

“This is a situation where you see on the news all the time, but you don’t realize how devastating it is before it comes through your own neighborhood,” says Steve Stachnik, a property claims adjuster for American Family.  

For Doug, that support is so much stronger than any storm.

“Absolutely marvelous,” he says. “I don’t know how I’ll thank them. [I have] lots of good friends.”  

Good friends, neighbors, and even strangers– who will help rebuild his home to stand for at least another 30 years.

 “Oh yeah we’ll put it back together,” Doug says. “We did it the first time, and we can do it again.”