Friday, January 16, 2015

Washington Strong

November 17th, 2014 marked the one year anniversary of the Washington, Illinois tornado.  On December 12th, we completed our first total rebuild, and our clients moved back into their home to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.  I am very proud of the job our team and our partners did to make this happen.

I was there a couple days after the tornado, and once we started, I was there almost daily through December 15th.  The amount of progress one year later is astounding!  Here are some observations from my time spent in Washington:

There was talk immediately after the tornado that labor and material costs for construction would be impacted all over central Illinois.  However, our personal experience proved that initial belief to be false.  While some of our partners are a bit busier than usual, we did not see dramatic changes in price or materials. 
The goodness of people was, and continues to be visible in Washington.  Volunteers have come from all over the country to offer help and support.  Neighbors continue to help and support one another.
The resilience and resolve of Washington residents is exactly as the phrase developed shortly after the tornado describes:  STRONG.  The people of Washington have shown tremendous strength and poise in the scramble to find temporary housing, dealing with insurance companies, simply trying to keep a “normal” routine for their families, and rebuilding/repairing the physical and emotional damage the tornado left behind. 

The job done by the city of Washington to handle all that comes with an extreme jump in construction was also handled well.  When we pulled our first permit, City Hall was packed with residents and contractors all trying to start the rebuilding process for so many residents, but he process was much smoother than we anticipated. 

Finally, everyone should take a good look at their insurance policies and make sure they have a clear understanding of what would happen if they were in a disaster situation.  Do it today, not "tomorrow". What is your policy limit?  Is it enough?  What about personal possessions?  Replacement costs?  What about building code changes?   What about temporary housing?  Talk to any Washington resident who has worked through the process and I'm confident they would recommend an insurance policy review as well.  

-Scott Patton, Project Coordinator

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