The city of Washington, Illinois was decimated by a tornado on Sunday, November 17, 2013.
What once were housing editions, apartment complexes and community centers are now nothing more than a pile of debris.
Ben Dubois says he was grocery shopping with his wife when he felt the tornado coming.
“We could hear this loud rumble,” he continued, “I told my wife,’Let’s stop shopping and go right now,’” Dubois said.
Dubois and his wife drove back to their house to pick up their dog and two cats, but the tornado was heading toward them. They only had time to grab their dog and run.
Dubois went to his parents’ house and took shelter with his three children.
Just 30 minutes later, they returned to where their house used to stand.
“We came back to our house to see destruction,” said Dubois.
Where his house once stood was flattened. The family managed to find a box of their children’s baby pictures.
The Dubois’ normally take cover in their basement, but even that was filled up with debris from the storm.
“If we were here during the tornado, it doesn’t look like the basement would have done us a bit of good,” Dubois said.
Just half a mile from the destruction was the Crossroads Methodist Church where a shelter was organized.
Dozens of people packed the church with no other place to go.
Food, water and cots were set up for the storm victims. The Red Cross and several medical volunteers supplied inhalers for asthmatics, insulin for diabetics, and other medical supplies.
Ben Dubois says his wife and children will be staying with his parents and he is glad his family and friends are safe.
“I got my family here and they are safe and that’s the most important thing to me,” Dubois continued, “All I have to do is clean up this mess, but there are people out there with bigger problems than me.”
Now that the storm has passed, it’s time for the recovery to begin.