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PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler is recognizing the 10th anniversary of the devastating tornado that tore through Washington and Pekin communities — a solemn reminder of the importance of year-round weather preparedness.

"We still remember the events that occurred a decade ago that left these communities devastated,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “The people who lived in the communities hit by the tornado worked to clean up after the storms and help make their towns habitable again.”

In the early hours of Nov. 17, 2013, a devastating EF-4 tornado tore through the communities of Washington and Pekin, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. The storm caused extensive damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure, and resulted in the death of one individual.

The process of attempting to recover belongings took days — for some, several years. Koehler, who was at the scene following the storm, recalls helping remove debris, assessing damages and working with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross to expedite relief to the many families in need of basic personal items.

“It’s important to have a plan in place in case of a disaster, no matter the time of year or season, to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe,” said Koehler. “It is in times of crisis, such as the Washington tornado, that we are reminded about the importance of storm readiness and the strength within our community to come together to support one another.”

On this significant milestone, we honor the memory of the victims and recognize the tireless efforts of survivors, first responders, those who helped the community recover, and all who bravely answered the call for help.

Resources are available on the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security website.