On Sunday, June 20, 2021 (Father’s Day), at approximately 11:10 PM – according to the National Weather Service – an EF-3 tornado hit the communities of Naperville, Woodridge, Darien, Burr Ridge and Willow Springs. The impacts of the tornadoes (estimated to be 3 tornadoes by the NWS) have been devastating on so many levels. The tornado started near the the border of Naperville and Woodridge (Ranchview and 75th Street area). Moving swiftly East across Woodridge hitting homes, apartment and condo buildings, a school and church rectory, neighborhood parks and local businesses. The devastation was overwhelming and the impacts unimaginable. Our hearts were heavy.
At first light, the damage was shocking. Seeing all the physical damage, the streets lined with tree branches everywhere and all the bare tree trunks and uprooted trees- it was incredibly overwhelming. Driving through the streets was difficult and we could see right inside neighborhood homes and that so many homes impacted. Some only partially standing. The sounds of emergency equipment with their lights going filled the sky as hovering helicopters could be heard overhead. Emergency First Responders, our dedicated Police, Fire, Public Works, our Park and School Districts and the Emergency Utilities, who are truly our Heroes, were still checking on each neighbor -going door to door. The destruction was difficult to take in and you couldn't help but feel an enormous shared sense of loss, despair and many tears. The personal stories and incredible acts of kindness were just beginning and we were so thankful.
Neighbors were outside their homes in the rain, checking on each other, seeing all the damage, assessing and trying to salvage what they could-if they could. Within what seemed like minutes, just as the sky became lighter, an outpouring of neighborly (both near and far) care, kindness, compassion and generosity was upon us. People were walking with wagons filled with water, coffee, juice, donuts and some were dropping off meals, gift cards and goodness in droves. All came to to provide immediate help, care and much needed HOPE. Truly amazed but so not surprised by all the kindness. Throughout the day, more helping hands kept arriving and together we began the arduous, difficult clean-up work.
The incredible number of helping hands was simply overwhelming. We felt our hearts filling up. Right then, we knew we were going to get through this and that we weren't alone. All the kindness and help truly got us through a very tough day and days that followed -possibly some of the toughest of times for our Neighbors and our community. We are so grateful because the Spirit of Giving was our Inspiration to go forward. And, to this day, we continue in this spirit to walk side by side with our neighbors and to help everyone impacted until everyone is back "home".
We are ever Grateful! Thankful to our Neighbors, for their resilient, strong, caring spirit. To our community for their resolve to help make a difference. Together, with the dedication of all the Emergency First Responders, Police and Fire, Public Works, the Village of Woodridge, our Mutual Aid Partners and our Intergovernmental Sister Agencies and all our Recovery Partners, Churches, Service Organizations and Case Management, we are grateful and Woodridge Strong! To all our Volunteers and Helping Hands, our Donors, Businesses, Recovery Organizations, Churches, Friends and Service Organizations because of you, we are Woodridge Stronger Together. With all of this before us, a genuine grass-roots neighborly outreach organization formed and quickly became Woodridge Neighbors Helping Neighbors, in early July 2021.
Through ongoing good works, neighborly outreach and GIVES our Woodridge Neighbors Helping Neighbors -Disaster Recovery, is now an official Organization with a dedicated Board of Directors, Case Management Team and amazing WNHN Volunteers. WNHN's mission is to continue to compassionately unite and serve the Woodridge community around disaster recovery and disaster relief. To mindfully assist our neighbors whose lives have been adversely affected by a recent disaster. We are proud to share that as of January 2022, our Woodridge Neighbors Helping Neighbors -Disaster Recovery, is a 501(c)(3) Organization. One year later, our work continues.
Thank you for helping us...we're ever grateful!
Immediate emergency response by Police and Fire Professionals provided life-saving aid to all those injured; sadly, in Woodridge, we had one loss of life.
The Red Cross arrived in Woodridge within hours to provide emergency care and assistance to our neighbors.
Extensive, severe, physical damage occurred across Woodridge, from 75th Street and Gladstone Drive, to Lemont Road. Hundreds of properties were impacted, including homes, condos, apartments and businesses.
Hundreds of Woodridge trees were lost/significantly damaged. 100+ year old oak trees lining our streets and homes were uprooted, and at dawn, we could see that the tornado had drastically changed the look of our community. (Woodridge is a Tree City USA Community, and has been since 1992.) We, W NHN, use cyan green as our signature color in honor of our love and respect for trees.
By 5:00 a.m. (the morning after), volunteers from Woodridge and our neighboring communities started arriving to lend a helping hand; together, we cleared debris from streets and yards, and brought food, water, coffee and other much appreciated supplies to our community. .
At the end of the day, the Spirit of hope, compassion, kindness and generosity was evident and incredibly impactful. This Spirit is our Inspiration to continue to do good works to help our Neighbors and Community! Together, We Are Woodridge Strong!
IN WOODRIDGE SPECIFICALLY...
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WANT TO HELP
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Woodridge Neighbors Helping Neighbors (WNHN) has hosted 14 “GIVES" with our partners and volunteers, where we meet and connect with our neighbors and provide helpful resources, latest information, emergency housing, food, clothing, personal care and household supplies, and gift cards to help with essential needs. Proudly, we have provided help to hundreds of neighbors in need. These good works continue today, and will continue as long as we are in recovery. We’re all in this together.
WNHN has been impacted greatly by our partners, including the
Village of Woodridge, local churches, religious houses of worship, the Woodridge Rotary Club, the West Suburban Community Pantry, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Lutheran Services Emergency Response Team, Catholic Charities, DuPage PADS, Tzu Chi Foundation, local businesses, the DuPage Foundation, Knights of Columbus, Advocate Good Sam Hospital Foundation and Staff, our neighboring communities, our incredible volunteers, and our
generous, supportive donors and community.
In September 2021, WNHN partnered with The West Suburban Community Pantry (based in Woodridge) and established the W NHN Case Management team. The goal of this dedicated team is to help and work with the most severely-damaged properties and people/families who need assistance since the June tornado. They work with neighbors in need by going through damage assessment, insurance progress, and other needs. From there, a case can be put together which – when presented to W NHN – will allow a fair, objective decision to be made that determines the kind of recovery assistance needed that will best benefit the neighbor.
SINCE THE JUNE TORNADO, WOODRIDGE HAS HAD THREE ADDITIONAL DISASTERS
December 9th, 2021 - A pipe burst at the Woodridge Country Club 5 Condo Building, which was being used as emergency housing for 32 families who had been displaced by the June tornado. W NHN arranged immediate housing and covered the families through February. DuPage PADS has continued helping cover housing for 12 of the 32 families. Our WCC5 neighbors are still out of their homes, as well as the original.
January 7th, 2022 - A fire occurred at the Woodridge Country Club 1 Condo Building, directly across from the WCC5 building. This fire displaced all of the 19 families indefinitely until repairs can be completed.
March 12, 2022 - A fire occurred at a Windsor Lakes apartment complex. Fortunately, the Red Cross was able to provide temporary housing solutions for the displaced families for a couple days, until the complex’s management team was able to find new housing for them.