Remembering the tornado


We’re coming up on April 9, which conjures up a mixed memory.

In 2015, an EF4 tornado ripped apart homes west of Rochelle. One of those homes belonged to my daughter. I had followed the development of the storm on television and the weather radio. I called her then-fiancée and warned him of the changing weather.

After it passed, I went to my daughter’s house and when I turned onto her street, I almost threw up. Her house and several others had taken direct hits from the storm. I had seen tornado damage on television, but experiencing it first hand was more powerful than I had ever imagined.

What followed was a literal flood of help. Volunteers to clean up. Food trucks and groups with pizza or burgers. Donations of cleaning supplies and other goods.  

It was amazing to experience the destruction of the storm and the kindness of the community.

You may have seen a short story I did on the tornado shrine that appeared in the remains of a damaged tree along Skare Road near the park. People who wish to remain anonymous decorated and maintained the site, which had a statue of The Blessed Virgin Mary, artificial plants and solar lights.  

The shrine has been removed, mainly because the tree is rotting rapidly.
In the story I wrote, while no one had been seriously injured locally, two people died in Fairfield. Fairfield? When I read it in the paper I smacked my forehead and yelled,

“Fairdale!”

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I see Elvis Presley has partly disappeared from downtown. Winds seem to have proven to be too strong for the icon of Westerns.

I have always wanted to the see 1776 mural on the side of the former Carney and Longenecker store redone, as well as the Black Cat one in Page Park. It might be nice to put up other murals that reflect Rochelle’s history. Maybe the first mayor, and the first woman mayor could be murals. Or the Bain Opera House.

There are endless possibilities.

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Spring is a season of change. Kim Montgomery has retired as director of the Rochelle Area Community Foundation and Connie Dougherty is retiring as director of the Hub City Senior Center. A big thank you for all the work they have put in over the years to make Rochelle a better community.

Another change seems to be happening in Creston, with Headon’s changing ownership after 50 years of business. Kudos to them for being a great community asset.

Terry Dickow can be contacted at [email protected]

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