Many of you have reached out expressing concern for the wellbeing of Rotarians and others in our communities who have been victims of the tornados that passed through our District earlier this week. Chris Olson, a member of the Rotary Club of Aurora Sunrise and a District Board member, is the chair of our District's Disaster Response and Assistance Team ("Dart"). Chris and his committee have been very active this week connecting with authorities, assessing need, and finding out where assistance is needed.
We are very grateful that Chris has established important connections with disaster response organizations and that we can now quickly access information and make connections for events like these.
This message is from Chris:
Good Morning, Rotarians,
As most of us are aware, last Sunday an EF-3 Tornado Touched Ground in the Western Suburbs of our District 6450. According to Responders, 160 households were affected in some way. Some suffered complete loss of their homes, and some had minor damage. Thankfully, there were no deaths recorded, and not as many injuries as might be expected.
The Red Cross and Salvation Army were on site by midnight on Sunday offering aid. Our District is a part of the Northeast Illinois Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD). We have been interacting with authorities since Monday morning and working on ways we can help as Rotarians.
Thankfully, there are clubs in Naperville, Woodridge and Darien that have already been engaged in helping. Many of the Clubs in the District have stepped forward and are helping financially with donations.
In Woodridge, 156 homes have suffered major damage, including 28 homes that are a complete loss. About 380 sustained some type of damage. The families in the homes with major damage are in alternative housing. Two Woodridge Rotarians sustained damage to their homes, but were not injured. The wife of a former member suffered some injuries – a concussion, broken nose and glass cuts.
The Woodridge Rotary Club and their Foundation have established an account to receive and process relief funds. The City government has endorsed this effort and are encouraging people to donate via this venue.
To donate to the Woodridge Club, go here:
Woodridge Rotary Tornado Relief Fund - Donations - Rotary Woodridge
The City of Woodridge has additional information:
Village Updates Related to June 20 Confirmed Tornado (woodridgeil.gov)
One young mother in Woodridge who was pregnant with their second child suffered severe injuries and lost her baby. To help with medical expenses, they have a fundraising page Fundraiser for Wilson Family
At this point there is no immediate need for a large volunteer response. That is being handled by the 12 other Community Organizations that specialize in a specific area of service.
However, this Saturday and Sunday COAD will be hosting a Multi-Agency Resource Center. This is a central location where people directly affected by the tornados can physically go to get aid from different agencies (i.e., Government, Insurance, Financial, etc.). What is needed is a small handful of volunteers to act as ambassadors at the event. They will accompany families or individuals as they walk through the process. You do not need to be an expert in any specific field since you are not answering questions. You are simply accompanying victims of the storm to the different tables/rooms where a specialist can be found. Contact me if you would like to help.
In Naperville, Rotary club leaders have been in constant contact with the City of Naperville and the Red Cross to assess what needs there are, and will alert us of any volunteer opportunities that arise as this cleanup process continues over the next weeks and months, and if a fundraiser is planned.
If you or your club would like to help beyond a financial donation, please let me know by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The situation is very fluid, and we are trying to keep everyone informed. If there are things I should know or ways the District can help, please don't hesitate to call or email.
Thank you all.
District 6450 DART Team Lead