Friday, September 11, 2009
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Tornado victims need community's help

Long road to recovery still in beginning stages

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(Originally posted Thursday)

[September 11, 2009]  Your help is needed. Ten Logan County families have been displaced from their homes in the aftermath of the tornado that struck 22 Logan County farmsteads on Aug. 19.

HardwareYou can assist these families by providing goods, giving your time or giving financially. A cleanup day has also been set for this Saturday. Go to the bottom of this article for options on how you can help and for contact information. (To help)

Nine homes were destroyed, which included total loss of possessions. One other home was condemned and the family cannot go back. That family's financial (and emotional) loss is equivalent to a total loss.

Logan County Salvation Army caseworker Rebecca Van Nydeggen has spent considerable time connecting and staying in contact with the tornado victims. While the immediate needs of the families have been met, for many the losses are extensive. Their needs vary and will be continually changing and challenging.

Van Nydeggen has been working closely with the families to keep up with what has been happening and is coordinating support services that best help meet their needs. Her involvement helps provide anonymity to victims who prefer not to receive public exposure. She has also able been able to help some to navigate uncharted territory.

Many of the families have been through tremendous upheaval, losing their homes and all their possessions. They have weathered day-to-day living challenges and now face the emotional impact that goes with the loss of those possessions that had significance, that had connections to the past and meaningful memories of loved ones.

Some have been through continued turmoil in finding a place to live and putting their lives back in order. Many will face even more significant decisions, adjustments and unanticipated difficulties in the continuing recovery process.

While recovery will take the better part of a year and even years, Van Nydeggen identified the first 90 days as the most critical period for victims recovering from this type of disaster. She documented the following comments to help the community understand some of the enormity and the current reality of what those who have lost their homes are going through:

Not all tornado victims were comfortable or emotionally able to talk with reporters in the days after the tornado struck. Some will never want to give an interview or have their personal needs published in the paper.

The follow-on effects of the physical devastation include a sense of defenselessness and humiliation that comes from people driving by the properties with cameras, video cameras and no offer of help given.

Both cleanup workers and friends of the tornado victims related their frustration with the many spectators who simply drove by and the discouraging effect it had on the families as well as their cleanup teams.

Some tornado victims did not have enough property or crop insurance coverage, and that won't be publicized either. Some did not have health insurance. Some have health issues that make recovery and relocation difficult and are daunted by obstacles in the extended cleanup of debris and damage.

Some are still trying to move on to the next steps in the process and struggling with insurance adjustors that have put a halt on demolition, or are still negotiating financial settlements.


For those who have been given the green light on demolition and materials removal, the stark emptiness of the sites is now sinking in and the loss is felt much more deeply.

Some displaced families have had to move several times since the day they lost their homes, adding to stress, fatigue and frustration.

Some have children that have been deeply affected by the storm's destruction as well as the confusion of the aftermath and cleanup.

Some family members cannot bear to be on the home sites that are still strewn with debris and surrounded by crop damage.

Many, many people want to help and to give and to bring aid. Most do not realize the many and varied stages of devastation that occur in waves of emotion and overwhelm. The greatest gift a person can give to a tornado victim is understanding, compassion and patience during the long recovery process. So often, those not affected will move on with their lives, especially when news and attention turns to other things, such as a busy school year, family celebrations, and enjoyable community events and activities.

The recovery process for tornado victims is just beginning now and will go on for months and for years.

--Comments documented by Rebecca Van Nydeggen, Salvation Army

Families needing assistance for tornado recovery may contact Van Nydeggen at 217-732-7890 to obtain vouchers or to address other recovery needs.

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Here's how you can help

  • All donations made to the Salvation Army for tornado disaster relief will be used to help Logan County tornado victims directly.

  • Donations made through the Salvation Army are tax-deductible.

  • A Salvation Army Logan County Disaster Assistance Fund has been set up.

  • To mail a check, make it payable to Salvation Army Logan County Disaster and send to The Salvation Army, PO Box 52, Lincoln, IL 62656.

    Disaster donations are kept completely separate from the Salvation Army's general fund that assists Logan County residents throughout the calendar year.

  • The Salvation Army office is also accepting donations of food pantry supplies and financial donations, which can be designated for food pantry use or for disaster relief in Logan County.

  • All donations may be made in person at the Keest Center, 307 N. Kickapoo St. between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays.

  • Tornado victims who have questions, need additional assistance or haven't been reached yet may contact the Salvation Army office at 217-732-7890.

  • Volunteers and anyone needing more information about donating can also call 217-732-7890.

Financial contributions may also be made to specific individuals who have disaster aid accounts set up at their banks. These donations go directly to families and may be made anonymously, or you may leave your name and even have a note passed to the recipient.

Funds deposited directly at the bank do not qualify for a tax deduction.

The following accounts have been set up:

  • Gary and Norma Bobell -- State Bank of Lincoln

  • Andy and Joan Dahmm -- State Bank of Lincoln

  • Joe and Kelly Elias -- State Bank of Lincoln

  • For Bill and Margaret Lahr, the account is under their daughter's name, Judith Hughes -- Illini Bank, Lincoln

  • Vincent and Janet Long -- State Bank of Lincoln

  • Ed and Cindy Mayfield -- State Bank of Lincoln

  • Norman and Judith Maxheimer -- Regions Bank, Lincoln

To help -- summary:

To donate time, money, food pantry items, new clothing or other goods for victims, contact the Salvation Army at 217-732-7890. Please leave a message if the recorder answers. The Salvation Army office is located at 307 N. Kickapoo St. in Lincoln.

To help with the cleanup: Call the Logan County Emergency Management Agency office during business hours or leave a message after hours at 217-732-9491.

Anyone wishing to receive help can call the above numbers also.


Related past articles

NWS reports


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