My Miss Illinois United States director coordinated a road trip to the town of Fairdale, Illinois. As soon as we learned of the devastating tornado and how the people were suffering, Mr. Derrick said “Let’s go help the people of Fairdale.”
We all jumped to it and made plans to go. What we found when we got there was nothing short of amazing. The kind people of Fairdale were very busy pulling together as a community for tornado recovery. Also, volunteers from surrounding towns and as far as Chicago, were all there lending a hand too.
Our team unloaded the supplies we collected, and decided to walk door to door and hand them out. Since everyone was hard at work we wanted to make sure that they all got something without having to go somewhere else to collect them. It was very emotional and a beautiful feeling to give back to the community. A kind family let us borrow their red wagon. My mom said she had one growing up too. A dedicated volunteer named Mr. Travis helped us carry things too. There are so many people to thank and I wish that I knew their names.
One of the volunteers from out of town actually knew everyone’s name on the 2 blocks we visited! Her name was Ms. Regina. She walked with us for most of our day there, introducing us to families and sharing stories of survival and hope. This amazing single mother of 4 was brave enough to save her entire family. Since there are no Tornado Warning Sirens in Fairdale, her dad called to warn her in time to get her kids into the basement. Her little boy held onto his sisters for dear life. Not pictured here is her beautiful 16 year old daughter. Just one year older than me, she has her hands full helping in the recovery now.
There were so many amazing stories, too many to share here. I want to tell you about a few of them though. One little girl had a birthday coming very soon. She had on a pair of Frozen shoes. We just happened to have brought Frozen blankets with Olaf on them! She was so happy and it made all of us very happy too.
This family showed us a video of them getting into their basement just in time to save themselves. They shared with us that they also saved their pet dog and this adorable goat. With us being from the city, we were surprised to learn that some goats love to be held. This one sure did.
This home was one of many scheduled for demolition. While we were learning about it, we looked up and spotted a cat! The pet was hiding in a hole up by the roof. Even though they immediately started rescue efforts, they didn’t capture the cat before we left. We all hope that he is found before the house is torn down.
You can learn about more survivors and ways to help by visiting the Facebook page created to help the people of Fairdale recover after the tornado. I also learned that people can adopt a family that was affected by the tornado. I asked my mom about doing that and she said, “yes of course!”
This was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. I was amazed at how positive and hopeful everyone was. We even got to play with kids on the playground that was untouched by the tornado. I appreciate everything I have and all of our blessings. These people lost so much and they are all rebuilding and helping each other. I’m proud to be your Miss Jr Teen Illinois United States because otherwise I may not have been able to experience helping the wonderful people of Fairdale, Illinois.
If you would be kind enough to retweet below to share awareness of what we learned in Fairdale, Illinois. Thank you so much!