OTTAWA, Ill. (KWQC) - Three weeks after a tornado ripped through both Ottawa and Naplate, residents in the area are still picking up the pieces of what used to be their homes.
Through the process that is sure to be long, the community has found support from within.
Just hours after the tornado left a path of destruction, people in the community took to Facebook creating a recovery "group" to help reach out to people in need.
"This is what we do," said community member June Steder. "This is what we do in our, in the Illinois Valley. We come together as a community and we work to rebuild and recover together."
Steder said days after the storm a community foundation was set-up by city officials to help raise funds for those in need. So farm she said the funds have been flooding in, and the foundation has received tens of thousands of dollars from all over the country.
Unfortunately, as Steder puts it, that amount is "just a drop in the bucket."
"Rebuilding one person's house, you know, if they didn't have insurance, or just covering one block of Naplate's deductibles, or whatever, it's not going to cover everything," said Steder. "So, we really do need the money to get back on our feet."
Steder is one of five residents who went above the call of duty. She along with Laurie Ragan, Angie Keely Granados, Cathy Keely Claus and Andree-Marie Koban all came together as a committee. Their goal, to try and help with the recovery process.
The committee's name, similar to some of the pictures and mottoes that have surfaced since the severe storm, is a combination of the city of Ottawa and the village of Naplate's names (also just shortened to simply ONE).
It took several weeks, but Sunday, March 19 the committee organized a benefit.
At least one thousand people came out to the event at the Knights of Columbus building in Ottawa. Those who attended the benefit paid an entrance fee, enjoyed food and had the option to participate in a raffle and an auction.
Steder during the last few weeks the committee has really felt other's desire to help.
"You know normally when you have a benefit you have to go and ask people if they will do something, or if they will give something. We didn't have to ask," said Steder.
She also said, at the event other organizations showed up and gave monetary donations to both Ottawa and Naplate's mayors.
Despite all of this, Steder said this is really just the beginning of a long journey ahead.
Donations are being collected online and by mail. To donate, those interested can head to the community foundation's website (http://srccf.org/donate/disaster-relief-fund/). An address to send donations through the mail can be on the webpage as well.
A clickable link for the site is located to the right of this article for web users and below the story for mobile users.