DIAMOND – The village of Diamond is in need of volunteers during the next few days to assist with continued clean up from the Nov. 17 tornado that damaged more than 200 structures in the Diamond and Coal City area.
Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc said about 25 houses will have to be torn down in the coming weeks, and residents will need assistance cleaning leftover debris.
“The goal with the teardowns is to actually bring in a crew of maybe 10 people to rake the yard and get it back into order so that the residents don’t feel like they are living in a construction zone,” Kernc said.
Jessica Counterman, volunteer coordinator for the village, said volunteers are no longer required to show up at the Diamond Banquet Hall and have a job assigned to them as they arrive.
Instead, Counterman said the village prefers volunteers call ahead so coordinators can find out exactly where and if they are needed.
“We are trying to be a little more precise,” Counterman said. “Before, we had so much work to be done that if 400 volunteers showed up, then we had something for them to do.”
Now, the needs of victims are much more specific, so Counterman said they are targeting those needs with the right volunteers.
“Some days I may only need people with chainsaws,” Counterman said. “It just depends on the day and the location.”
By Dec. 11, the city hopes to have all debris and dumpsters removed from the residential areas so residents can feel more at home. After that date, most if not all of the remaining work will be done by contractors, Counterman said.
“We’re doing a fine-tune to get us ready for the winter,” Kernc said.
“I actually think that by Christmas you will see a huge improvement in here because a lot of the roofs and shingle work will be done by then.”
While the need for volunteers to clean up debris is dwindling, the Clothes Closet in Coal City needs people to help sort and label the multitude of donations at the store.
Counterman said she will send volunteers who are not interested in outdoor work to help at the Clothes Closet on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Kernc said the city should begin to look like itself again as early as next month.
“I want to thank all of the volunteers,” Kernc said. “They have made a huge difference. They are the reason we look the way we do right now.”
Call 815-518-3061 to be placed on the volunteer schedule, and to get times and locations. Assistance needed this week includes: • Wednesday – Outside and inside work during daylight hours • Thursday – Inside work during daylight hours • Friday – Inside work during daylight hours • Dec. 10 – Outside work during daylight hours