WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—July 20, 2015. As recovery efforts continue in response to severe winds and rains that damaged communities in Quincy, Illinois last week, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) submitted a Statement for the Congressional Record to offer condolences to Illinois families impacted by the storms, and to commend the state and local response to the devastation.
“I have represented Quincy, Illinois, and Adams County since coming to Congress in 1983 as a Member of the House of Representatives,” Durbin said. “I have found that there is something special about the Gem City – its people, its strong sense of community, and the fighting spirit to tackle any crisis from floods to storms. That spirit was tested this week.”
“I’d like to commend the Quincy and Adams County community for pulling together to get through this storm and the aftermath. The clean-up is daunting, but the spirit endures. From the people of Hannibal and Macomb who have sent crews, trucks, and supplies to area residents who opened their homes and businesses to the displaced to the local businesses — grocery stores and gas stations — that have supplied free ice, water, and recharging stations and done their best to restock basic supplies so residents can feed and care for their families to the Kroc Center and its supporters who have fed Quincyans. This has been a team effort.”
Full text of Durbin’s statement is below:
Senator Richard J. Durbin — Storms in Quincy
Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I have represented Quincy, Illinois, and Adams County since coming to Congress in 1983 as a Member of the House of Representatives. I have found that there is something special about the Gem City – its people, its strong sense of community, and the fighting spirit to tackle any crisis from floods to storms.
That spirit was tested this week.
I am relieved and thankful that there were no serious injuries or fatalities after a major storm tore through Quincy on Monday night. Torrential rain and winds up to 74 miles per hour felled trees, broke dozens of utility poles, and tore roofs off several homes and businesses during the event. The Quincy Mayor declared a citywide state of emergency Monday evening and Adams County followed with a state of disaster declaration. Several people say the battered city looked like a warzone.
More than 21,000 people were without power on Monday night and Tuesday. Crews have worked around the clock to restore electricity to most. Due to the loss of power, many stoplights were out throughout the city. Between the outages, flooded streets, and streets made impassable by fallen trees, navigating Quincy has been a challenge.
The Quincy Park District estimates that the “jaw dropping” damage to the City’s 29 parks – especially Madison and South Parks – far exceeds the devastation from severe storms in 2011 that costs the District more than $400,000. Caretakers at Woodland Cemetery discovered after the worst of the storm had passed that a 20-foot piece of a Civil War monument was toppled by the high winds and at least 35 trees were uprooted in the Cemetery, many of which were more than a century old.
Dozens of Quincy residents checked into motels to escape the heat as they started the cleanup of their homes and properties without power. John Wood Community College and the Quincy Senior and Family Resources Center set up cooling centers to give people a place to take a break. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other local agencies have been on site to lend a helping hand.
I am grateful that Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning, Adams County Emergency Management Agency Director John Simon, Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley and many other elected officials and community leaders are leading cleanup and recovery efforts. Getting the City back on its feet and helping the people whose homes and businesses were damaged is a big job.
In today’s Quincy Herald-Whig columnist Steve Eighinger said it best, “It’s going to be quite a while before things are back to what we consider normal, but we’ll get there. We’re Quincy. We pay it forward.”
Mr. President, I ask Unanimous Consent to include that column in the Record.
In closing, I’d like to commend the Quincy and Adams County community for pulling together to get through this storm and the aftermath. The clean-up is daunting, but the spirit endures. From the people of Hannibal and Macomb who have sent crews, trucks, and supplies to area residents who opened their homes and businesses to the displaced to the local businesses — grocery stores and gas stations — that have supplied free ice, water, and recharging stations and done their best to restock basic supplies so residents can feed and care for their families to the Kroc Center and its supporters who have fed Quincyans. This has been a team effort.
I stand ready to support the local clean up and recovery efforts in Quincy and Adams County and will continue to keep community residents in my thoughts as they get the Gem City back up and running.
The Quincy Herald-White: ‘Normal’ still a ways away, but we will get there, Steve Eighinger, July 16, 2015
There is no use trying to sugar coat what has happened. It has been a brutal week in and around Quincy, thanks to the monstrous storm that swept through Monday night.
It was the first time in my life that I was legitimately scared of what might happen at the height of that blowing downpour and accompanying 74 mph winds.
My wife, Kathy, was screaming at me to get in the basement with her and Ashes, the family dog. For some reason, I refused. I vowed to stay upstairs, running from one window to another, from one door to the next, to make sure they didn’t blow open.
Massive limbs and entire trees were falling all around our home. I saw them. I heard them. It was like nothing I had ever experienced.
If our home was going down, I had vowed to go with it.
Obviously, that was not the smartest thing I ever chose to do. If I had to relive those frightening 30 minutes or so, I would have joined Kathy and Ashes in the basement.
It’s what happened after the storm had finally passed that was equally — if not more so — incredible.
On street after street, block after block, neighbors were assisting friends and helping people they did not even know. While only initial, limited assistance could be offered Monday night because of the lack of light, but the true heart of Quincy emerged Tuesday, as it always does.
One of the most heartwarming stories I encountered this week involved a family of five — a husband, wife and three kids — seeking out homeowners, particularly older adults, in need of help. The anonymous family cleaned yards, did not ask for anything in return and quietly moved on to the next person in need.
They did not seek and would not accept publicity. I admired that more than anything.
“We’re doing it because we should,” they answered.
That is the ultimate pay it forward.
Another offering of help was provided by at least one Hannibal inn handling an influx of displaced Quincyans on Monday night who needed a place to stay, including one family with a special-needs child who needed air conditioning. The lodge in question not only found the Quincyans rooms, but also provided them at a discount.
Hannibal has a big heart, too.
How about the cooperation of the drivers working their way through the maze of downed trees and no stoplights? Most major Quincy intersections became a little more than four-way stops, which could have become incredibly dangerous at major sites like 36th and Broadway. Instead, there was an esprit de corps among Quincyans, who politely made it all work.
Hats off to the local supermarkets for providing items like free bags of ice and places to recharge cellphones.
If you follow any social media, you have been impressed with the salutes, praises and admiration of Ameren and other workers trying to restore power to city residents. More than 1,000 Ameren workers alone have been working around the clock.
It’s going to be quite awhile before things are back to what we consider “normal,” but we’ll get there.
We’re Quincy. We pay it forward.