Thanksgiving is over now, that is Thanksgiving Day. Giving thanks never ends at our home, and the past Thursday our daughter Ann, and the two granddaughters who live in Decatur, came with their husbands and brought the traditional turkey with all the trimmings, for us to enjoy and be thankful for.
We are still giving thanks that there were so the few people who lost their life at the terrible tornado up at Washington. There are still a lot of post tornado good reports.
Dexter, the dog belonging to Jacob Montgomery, was buried under the rubble caused by the tornado for nine days before it was found by a man looking for his cat. After lifting off some of the lumber the dog was still afraid to have his freedom, and was coaxed out with a couple of hot dogs. His tail started wiggling when he saw his owner,
Washington, with one of their best football teams made the recent playoffs. In their game with University High they were invited to practice on U. Highs field and were given lunch in the schools cafeteria, and fortunately won that game. The next game was with Sacred Heart Griffin High School in Springfield. They also had their heart focused on the team from Washington that had several of the players who had lost their homes in the tornado. To help them, Sacred Heart Griffin sent seven buses to Washington to transport the Washington fans to the game. They furnished a snack to the Washington players, and although Griffin won the game, it was a very friendly football game. I believe the quarterback on the Washington team, who was one of the players who had his house demolished, is a great-nephew of Jack and Mary Gist.
I called Harold “Swede” Anderson, (B.H. S. class of 1940) who is in a retirement home in Washington, and he told me that the tornado path was a half mile from their building. Their electricity was out, but a quick run to Peoria brought a generator so they soon had everything working again. Harold said that a Chicago resident called to Washington that she had found a packet of papers in her yard that belonged to a family in Washington. The top of the tornado funnel could be thousands of feet from the ground and one could see how things could be found 75 miles away.
Annmarie Klein lost her home and is asking people if they find a mint green box that contained three letters in plastic. Her brother, Paul McLaughlin, died in 2005 of cancer. He had three young daughters and he wrote to each of them before he died, and perhaps had pictures in the envelope and asked Annmarie to give them to his daughters at an appropriate time, such as their graduation or their wedding day. Mrs. Klein says she can replace their big TV, her jewelry, the Jacuzzi, the convertible, but not the letters for the girls from their Dad. She hopes some farmer might find the box when he does his spring field work. The letters are addressed to Brenda, Cameron and Erin.
The elderly man who went to his bathroom when he heard the alarm, stayed in the bathroom as it was buried under all of the rubble of his home. He said he knew they would find him when he could hear men talking.
The help continues. Jim Thorme, former slugger for the White Sox, sent $100,000 and called the four teams he played for, the Cleveland Indians, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Minnesota Twins and the White Sox to contribute also. The Chicago Blackhawks Charities sent $200,000 and a warehouse was needed to place all of the clothes and other items that have been donated.