Monson Realtor creates Facebook page for Illinois tornado victims

MONSON – Karen King was watching the news footage about the tornadoes in the Midwest that killed at least 13 people and it brought back memories of June 1, when a devastating twister struck her town along its 39-mile path from Westfield to Charlton.

"It brought back all the feelings it did before," King said.

She felt she had to do something to help, so she reached out to fellow Remax Realtors in Harrisburg, Ill. and Branson, Mo. She got in touch with Realtor Cheryl Winters of Marion, Ill. and told her about how the Monson residents used the Internet to coordinate recovery efforts.

King, the leader of the street angels volunteer team, created a Facebook page for them – Harrisburg Tornado Help, modeled after the successful Facebook pages that sprang up after the June tornado in Monson, some of which are still operating.

King said she is "just a facilitator."

"I created it to help them in their time of need," King said. "I'm trying to pay it forward."

King said she posted the link on a few places, including a television station website, and sent an email to the Harrisburg mayor, to help spread the word. The idea is for the residents there to take it over and manage it, she said.

"This is a place where people can post about volunteer help available, help that is needed and what resources are available to those in need," the site states.

Said Winters, "I was overwhelmed that she put together that Facebook page. I thanked her. I hope everyone joins this page and starts posting there."

She said she lives approximately 20 miles away from Harrisburg, where six people died. A friend's mother was killed by the tornado, she said.

"It was a sad day yesterday and today, too," Winters said.

Harrisburg experienced the greatest loss of life from the line of "super-cell" storms, which twisted across the Midwest and produced 35 tornado reports from late Tuesday through Wednesday, according to media reports. Winters said Harrisburg is the type of community that will come together during a crisis and help its residents.

On Friday night, the Harrisburg Tornado Help page already had 57 likes, and many of the posters were Monson residents sending their thoughts and prayers to the residents of Harrisburg.

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