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“No words to describe it:” Cleanup begins in town devastated by tornado

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FAIRDALE, IL (WITI) -- More than 48 hours after disaster, the cleanup begins. Residents of the tiny community of Fairdale, Illinois, were allowed back to homes today.A huge tornado left miles of debris, uprooted trees and took at least two lives.

As the massive cleanup gets started, a group of area volunteers will be helping out -- clearing lots and cutting down trees.

It's a rare moment of calm as the sun rises on a community that has experienced the unimaginable.

"It's really kind of unbelievable, it really is. There's no words to describe it," said a Fairdale resident.

For the first time in days, residents of Fairdale get a look at the destruction left behind by Thursday's tornado.

"It's not going to be the same old Fairdale," said a Fairdale resident.

The massive storm destroyed homes, mangled trees and took two lives.

"I look out my bedroom window and there's this tornado and it's looking right back in the window at me," said Clem Schultz, tornado victim.

As Clem Schultz was guided from his destroyed home on Thursday, he learned his wife did not survive.

"He said don't look down. I said, why? He said because that's Gerry, your wife, she's dead...and she was," said Schultz.

Their neighbor Jacklyn Klosa also died.

Now the community works to get back on track. Volunteers from Elmbrook Chruch in Brookfield, will be cleaning up and working with the organization Samaritan's Purse.

"It's such a devastating thing for people. But when we come along, we're like reinforcements and they just know that it's going to be okay," said Pam Knoll, Samaritan's Purse volunteer.

They'll clear lots, cut down trees and be a shoulder to cry on. Trying to help a community move forward at a time when it seems impossible.

A team of Elmbrook Church volunteers will be in Illinois Sunday, April 12th, through Tuesday evening, April 14th.

For more information on the Samaritan's Purse organization, or to help the tornado victims, CLICK HERE.

For updates on the Red Cross response in Illinois, visit

You can donate by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

More tornado safety information is available in the “Types of Emergency” pages of this web site.

1 Comment

  • Eric

    Aww, wow. Elmbrook Churchies went down there? Those poor people. I don’t know who’s worse- them, or the Jehovies Witnesses.

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