Illinois Communities Come Together After Tornado Destroys Homes

OTTAWA, Illinois  --  Two communities in northern Illinois continue to pick up the pieces after an EF3 tornado touched down in the area early last week.

As KWQC's Terrace Myles reports, community leaders say hundreds of people have volunteered to help get the towns of Naplate and Ottawa back on their feet.

Rachel Dutton, an Illinois resident who lost her home during the storm, appreciates all the donations of water, food, and supplies, as well as clean-up assistance generously provided by volunteers in her community.

"It is something that you never hope to experience, and as the time goes on, it doesn't seem to get better," she said. "You know, you're under a little bit of shock afterwards, and when you finally stop moving and think about it for a few minutes it's hard to keep moving.

People like Sarah Nanowski have been helping out through the entire process.

"We were here within minutes after it hit, and we haven't really left. So it's, you know, just doing what we can," she said.

John Schultz and Joe Vanlynch have also done their best to lend a hand to those in need.

"Actually right across the street here we have a friend that needed our help. When we came and we saw all the destruction and all the torn down trees, everything, we just wanted to do our best to help out around the area."

Nanowski says making the decision to volunteer was made a lot easier by the closeness of the community.

"You know, we're a small community, we all work hard, we just all love each other, and, you know, we pull together when times are good, and when times are bad even more so."

She also says volunteers are determined to do whatever they can to rebuild the community.

"You know, a couple of these house will come down, but I can guarantee they'll be up faster than you'll even realize. A little bump in the road maybe, we'll be back."

Community leaders say they will continue to work throughout Sunday, and hundreds of volunteers are expected to help with the clean-up.