Fairdale Commemorates First Anniversary of Tornado
Residents of Fairdale held a variety of events Saturday to commemorate the first anniversary of a tornado that struck the town.
The mood was mixed. Firefighters, police officers, and scouts stood solemnly as they dedicated a plaque and park bench to Jackie Klosa and Geri Schultz, the two women who died in the disaster. At the same time, DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott was optimistic about the rebuilding efforts.
"We want to extend our sympathy to those of you who lost so much, more than we can really understand," he said, "but we offer our congratulations to you, for the progress that you’ve made, the challenges that you’ve met, and the ongoing progress you continue to make."
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner participated, along with state legislators Rep. Bob Pritchard and Sen. David Syverson. They participated in a Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking, with the governor hugging beneficiary Deena Schell. He praised the residents.
"Everyone here in this community, you’re an inspiration for all of us throughout the state of Illinois," he said. "It’s an honor for me to be with you here today."
At the main dedication, Pritchard singled out the leadership of Bill Nicklas, former Vice President of NIU and head of the DeKalb County Long Term Recovery Corporation.
"Bill said we want to go out of business at some point, but we’ll turn out the lights when everyone who was affected by the tornado can say they’ve been able to reestablish their house and their lives," Pritchard said.
For this leadership, Pritchard read a proclamation designating April 9 as Bill Nicklas Day.
Bound by tragedy, but held together by a desire to rebuild, the residents of Fairdale are hopeful for a better future.
Other notables who spoke include:
- Bishop Sally Dyck of the United Methodist Church
- Chad Connell, Kirkland Community Fire Chief
- Chairman Mark Pietrowski Jr. of the DeKalb County Board