By Lance Buck | (@DISASTER411)
June 30, 2015
On June 22, 2015 there were 10 tornadoes that touched down in Illinois that Monday evening, and at least one of which was the EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 to 165 mph that ripped though Coal City, IL and damaged at least 884 properties.
I had been in the Chicago area on a family vacation for a few days already, so we were closely tracking these storms as they were heading in our direction that night, and certainly felt the thunder while my daughter and I prepared for what we would do if we heard the tornado sirens go off.
The news was quick to report the incredible footage of the storm damage sustained in a small Illinois town called Coal City, and less than an hour away. This area has been hit by tornadoes before, so it was inspiring to see stories of the community rallying together to help their neighbors once again.
I had read that the residents were told to expect as many as 10,000 disaster relief volunteers, so on the following Friday my father in law and I made a quick little drive south to offer our support.
Shortly after driving through Diamond, IL (which was hit by an EF2 tornado in 2013), our first stop in town was at the disaster relief center which was set up at Coal City United Methodist Church. Here we got to meet with disaster recovery team leader, Lori Cora, and witness their volunteer registration along with the support of The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
I would like to thank Dave Foreman of Contents Recovery Experts along with Mark Miller of Omnicon Restoration and 1-800-BoardUp for inviting me to see their emergency service crews in action as they teamed up on a large loss restoration project at Station 2 of the Coal City Fire Protection District, along with a number of residential storm damage restoration jobs in the community.
The 9-11 Memorial that features a couple of steel beams recovered from the Twin Towers site still stands in front of the station, but unfortunately the communication tower in the back does not, as it was throttled into the building. First responders in Coal City are still able to assist residents in need of immediate help while their very own building is being completely restored as well.
I’ve responded to hundreds of property disasters in my career primarily due to fire, flooding, and Arizona monsoons, but I will never forget this tornado experience in Coal City, IL. My hope is that this story somehow makes a positive impact to those it reaches and that sharing it also possibly inspires someone else to take a drive and see how they might be able to help a neighbor sometime.
This is a very resilient community, but be please aware to the fact that they are still healing. My apologies go out to a particular resident who apparently had enough of strangers coming in from out of town and taking pictures of his devastated neighborhood. An angry mutter of, “Can I get you some gloves?”, still rings in my ears…Though my intentions may have been misunderstood, I feel that it is important to share the message to help remind disaster relief volunteers and restoration professionals to always be empathetic and let your compassion set you apart.
Remember Coal City.
VIDEO: Tornado Ravages Southwest Suburban Coal City – CBS Chicago
DRONE VIDEO: 2015-06-22 Tornado (Coal City, IL USA) | ZonCom Productions
5 Ways to Help Coal City, Illinois Tornado Victims:
- Make a cash donation to the Community Foundation of Grundy County or The American Red Cross
- Donate These Needed Items to Coal City United Methodist Church (6805 E. McArdle Road, Coal City, IL):
- Urgent Items – packing tape, tote bins, boxes, and tarps!
- Safety – Vests, sunscreen, flashlights, and C and D batteries
- Cleaning – Brooms, buckets, rubber gloves, Lysol liquid, Lysol wipes, mops, rakes
- Personal hygiene/first aid – Band-aids, Pepto Bismol, basic first aid items, Tylenol, ibuprofen, feminine products, toilet paper, shampoo, deodorant, and bug spray
- Baby items – Jar food, formula, diapers, pull-ups
- Pet Supplies – Cat food, dog food, kitty litter
- Donate Your Time and Help with the Cleanup – Be sure to wear work clothes, boots, and bring a pair of work gloves.
- Create your own fundraiser on CrowdRise.com for a particular family of Coal City, IL or charity of your choice
- Share Updates With Your Social Media Following and encourage others to do the same.
2015 Coal City EF3 Tornado Photo Gallery:
- How to help those affected by Coal City tornado | The Herald News
- COAL CITY WELCOMES VOLUNTEERS FOR TORNADO CLEANUP | ABC 7 News
- 884 properties damaged by Coal City tornado | Morris Herald News
- 10 IL tornadoes confirmed by NWS | ABC 7 News
Tornado Recovery and Flood Restoration Companies in Coal City IL
5402 Janes Ave. Downers Grove, IL 60515 (630) 395-9570 http://www.contentsrecoveryexperts.com/
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
If you are an emergency service provider that is in the business of helping property owners or managers in immediate need of disaster recovery assistance and wish to showcase your expertise, then please CLICK HERE and submit the attached request form, or call DISASTER411 Media at (855) 515-0411.