State News
6:22 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Gifford slowly recovering

Damage from Gifford tornado
Credit Sean Powers / WILL
It’s been three weeks since an EF-3 tornado ripped through the Champaign County town of Gifford. As IPR'S Sean Powers reports, the community is slowly coming back together.

When Christina Gann, woke up Monday morning, she says it felt weird not going to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Gifford. For the last few weeks, she’s served hot meals there to people affected by the storm.

GANN: “This is the first time that I’ve cooked a meal at my home here today in the last three weeks. I’ve been at the church ever since the tornado hit pretty much.”

Gann lives on a farm in Gifford. She didn’t lose her home in the storm, but she says she feels a close connection to the hundreds of people she’s helped, and hopes to continue helping them.

GANN: “God hasn’t made that one clear. I didn’t expect the role that I’ve had for the last three weeks. So, I’m just sitting here, trying to get caught up, and just trying to see where he leads me next.”

Just as Gann’s efforts came to an end, I caught up with another person ending his work in Gifford. Silas Gabel reconnects cable lines cut off by the storm. He unravels a spool of strand wire that’ll be put up on a pole.

GABEL “It’s kind of humbling knowing that we’re helping everybody out, and with a community that just went through a tornado like that everyone’s been super, super nice and appreciative of it. So, it’s been quite the experience.”

An experience that marks just the beginning of a community coming back together.