LaSalle County Nursing Home reopens to residents almost 7 months after tornado

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OTTAWA, Illinois-- Finishing up with family dinner, Dorothy Radtke is home at last.

"February 28, it was one of the worst dates I've had," says LaSalle County Nursing Home director of nursing Cathy Balzarini.

The aftermath of an E-F 3 tornado back in February left the nursing home in pieces. It left behind destruction and displaced all 68 residents.

But months of clean up, rebuilding and repair, and almost $2M later, residents are coming back, and the newly remodeled building is a home again.

"These people are in their 80s and 90s. We even have a 103-year-old. If they can do it, anyone can do it," says Balzarini.

Some new additions, like a newly constructed gazebo, symbolize something more.

"It's a sign of forever. It's a sign of forever," says Balzarini.

This home is where the people are.

"Home, they make it a home," says Balzarini.

Dorothy's home is back and here to stay.

All residents were temporarily housed at nearby nursing homes. Five residents came back on Tuesday, five more are expected on Thursday. And then 15 more will arrive once a week until everyone is back.

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