HARRISBURG REMEMBERS THE LEAP DAY TORNADOPosted by Jack Howser on Monday, March 4th, 2013 @ 10:06 am.
SALINE COUNTY—There was a somber memorial this past Friday, March 1, 2013, a year after the deadly Leap Day Tornado---the tornado without an anniversary date (as we called it in the current print version), as it occurred on February 29, 2012---and our tech guru Chris was featured as part of televised coverage of it (above), since Chris was one of the first media on the scene in the dark of the morning, and proceeded to film everything as he ran through the wreckage trying to get to his cousin Chad Mills, staying at their grandma's house up in Country Club Hills. This video, posted to our YouTube channel, was picked up by CNN and broadcast widely for days.
Eight people lost their lives to the disaster, which also tore across the town of Ridgway in Gallatin County. Rebuilding efforts have been completed or are still underway in earnest.
Our staff thoroughly covered the funerals of the tornado deceased, which were threatened by disruption from the Westboro Baptist Church. However, the Human Shield/Wall of Purple was apparently enough to deter them and no representative from the WBC showed up.
It's been a hard road to go since then for Harrisburg. There's been a lot negative said about the recovery effort and the pitiful way our governor, Pat Quinn, handled first refusal of funding for the tornado stricken areas, then rerouting of existing funding so that it "looked like" he was doing something for Harrisburg. We don't know why funding was denied. We do know that Saline is one of the most impoverished counties in Illinois, ranked number 97 of 102 in the state. There's been a lot of hate spewed about the area even in, and after, its time of need, the type of which we can see below in a screen cap from the television's Facebook page that appeared under the coverage of the memorial:
(For the record, we didn't see any such posters...but it WAS an election year, and it IS Freedom of Speech to dissent against a communist leader, so good for whomever put up those posters if they did, and we hope Kathy is enjoying her $4 a gallon gas and all the hope and change she can swallow).
Harrisburg has held its collective head high. They continue to overcome the pathetic response like the above to the disaster that redefined the town.
We hope that in the future, this holds true, and if another disaster strikes, the community again comes together to support those who need it as in the days following the terrible Leap Day Tornado.
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