By Bob Weissman (Member of The Friendship Force of Northern Illinois)
March 5, 2012
Having been bombarded on CNN for two days by reports of tornadoes and severe weather, I felt urged to go to the location, Harrisburg, Ill., this past weekend to help.
Harrisburg is a small town about 400 miles south of Lake County, Illinois. It is mostly residential with only the minimal shopping and service businesses.
There were more than 1,000 volunteers from many parts of the country who came to help on Saturday (March 3). Some brought their own equipment. I spent about three hours in a farmer’s field picking up shingles, shards of glass and various kinds of lumber and pieces of metal which had been carried for miles by the wind from the areas of destruction.
The west end of Harrisburg was in ruins. A building near Wal-Mart was completely destroyed while part of the bank was a pile of debris. The residential area suffered the most damage, although its severity ran the gamut from complete destruction to the loss of a few shingles. An obvious problem was the loss of trees which were strewn over almost every property across several square blocks.
Of course, the worst part of this disaster was the loss of life -- six people were killed. I did not have an opportunity to talk with any of the folks living in the areas, which were severely damaged.
I did not enjoy the experience, but it was worthwhile. I am glad that I went to help the folks in need.