Coal City welcomes volunteers for tornado cleanup

EMBED </>More Videos

Volunteers are helping Coal City residents clean up after an EF-3 tornado tore through area on Monday. (WLS)

Friday's rain has not stopped the volunteer effort in Coal City as residents clean up after an EF-3 tornado tore through the area on Monday.

The homeowners appreciate the help, including local school Supt. Kent Bugg, who now has two challenges in his life.

Monday's tornado damaged the Bugg's family home. It happened during a challenging time - his 14-year-old daughter, Megan, is fighting Stage 4 cancer.

"This whole process has kind of restored my faith in faith because people are amazing. The support they have given our family between my daughter and now this," Bugg said.

PHOTOS: Tornado storm damage across Chicago area


"I'll admit there is a brief moment when you think, 'What else can happen to our family?'" Bugg said. "And then you get past that and you start to move forward."

Moving forward has meant cleaning up. Megan's sister Mackenzie made sure Megan's room was wiped down after the tornado and that everything was in place, even though her own bedroom was essentially blown away.

But they are moved by the people who are helping them.

"My friends are absolutely amazing, I'm wearing my friend's clothes right now because I don't have any. They've been here every day," said Mackenzie Bugg.

And as you look around Coal City, this is what you see. Volunteers , hundreds strong.

"It's all about helping people who are in need and pulling together for a community," said Mark Cipiti, a Crest Hill volunteer.

"Just being human beings, I guess, I don't know how to explain it. We just have this urge to help each other. That's just who we are," said Eduardo Castillo, a Joliet volunteer.

As for the Bugg family, their cars are destroyed and they won't be able to live here for at least six months. But it's not this home that makes them a family. It's each other.

"We're going to be displaced from our home, but wherever the four of us are, that's where home is, and we're all going to be fine," Kent Bugg said. "We are so proud to call this home, these people are the most amazing people you will ever meet."

Supt. Bugg and his oldest daughter picked up their home while his wife took their other daughter to radiation.

They hope to be back in their home to celebrate Christmas.

In the home where Nikole Herrera's parents once lived, the kitchen still stands, but everything else is gone. Among the rubble, volunteers have found pieces of her parents' lives, including a sentimental rosary and a wedding ring.

"They found them in my bedroom, not where I put them though, but of course nothing is where I put it," said Lorrayne Burch, Herrera's mother.

"You can't say enough, these little guys are working. It's an army," said Al Burch, Herrera's father.

An army of volunteers that are not only helping this community clean up, but also to help them heal.

"Thank you so much for helping my family, the generosity of taking time out of their day to help it means so much to me," Herrera said.

Related Topics:
wind damagetornadovolunteerismcommunity serviceCoal CityGrundy County
(Copyright ©2018 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)