Illinois tornado sends pictures, papers 100 miles from home

November 18, 2013 (MORRIS, Ill.)

An effort is under way to collect these items and return them to their owners.

Tattered scraps of paper and ripped photos are the remnants of personal items belonging to people living in the central Illinois town of Washington. Items that were scattered far and wide by the tornado. Like the ones found in the yard of Becky Siegel-Harty's home in Seneca.

"My kids went out on a scavenger hunt and found pictures and other items," Siegel-Harty said.

She decided to start a Facebook page for people to post those items. She calls it a virtual bulletin board. It instantly became popular with people more than 100 miles away from Washington posting what they found. Brenda Strange found this photo of a couple. And after several views on Facebook, the owners were tracked down.

"This came 77 miles to me. I had to do something about this," Strange said.

The Grundy County Chamber of Commerce is collecting personal items for storm victims in a drop-off box in their office.

"We want to help but we don't want to be in the way," said Liz McKee, GCCC.

And other Grundy County residents touched by the efforts to give what could be cherished memories back to their owners are doing what they can to help.

"Their homes, clothing can be replaced. These memories and photos can't be replaced," said resident Heather Binder.

A resident in Hinsdale found a check in his back yard dated 1996 from a resident in Washington, Illinois. The issuing bank is also in Washington, Illinois. Washington, near Peoria, suffered some of the worst storm damage. The powerful storm blew the check 120 miles.

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