by Christina Chapman-Van Yepern, Morris Daily Herald
May 6, 2014
The Community Foundation of Grundy County’s annual Donor and Partner Appreciation Night was again filled with gratitude, but this time with a central theme around the response to the November tornado.
About 125 people attended the event Monday evening at the Morris Country Club, Foundation Executive Director Julie Buck said. This was the eighth year for the event dedicated purely to thanking those who support the local Community Foundation.
The Rev. Thomas Logsdon of the Coal City United Methodist Church spoke to the audience on “Taking care of our own during times of disaster.” He took them back to Nov. 17, 2013, when the Diamond-Coal City-area tornado struck damaging more than 200 homes and businesses.
During this time, the Coal City United Methodist Church took on numerous roles including shelter, volunteer station and supply hub. “Our ministry evolved over the next several weeks as the needs of those affected by the storm changed, and we became better at anticipating and responding to those needs,” he said to the crowd. “Two things we were unprepared for: the number of people who came to help and the tons of supplies rolling into our community in response to the disaster.”
The church’s congregation didn’t really think about responding – they just did what was needed for their friends and neighbors, he said. Logsdon shared with the room full of leaders the numerous lessons they learned along the way, such as you can’t do it all so you have to rest at some point; sometimes just taking time to listen is the best way to help; and be generous with praise to those volunteering.
“The most important lesson is this: Do your best, learn as you go, change what you’re doing when necessary and treat everyone – volunteer, donor and recipient alike – with respect. And that includes yourself,” he said.
Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc surprised the attendees with a mini awards ceremony to recognize the organizations that came to Diamond and Coal City’s aid such as the church, Operation St. Nick, We Care of Grundy County, United Way of Grundy County, neighboring municipalities and others.
“Help comes from the most unusual places and help comes from the most expected places,” she said. “What I was unprepared for was the kindness of others. Grundy County has amazed me by the warmth, the love and the community this whole region has,” Kernc continued.
As a result to what the entire county faced after the tornado hit its southern region, Kernc and the Community Foundation are working together on a policy, so in the event there is a future disaster, municipalities can quickly turn to the foundation as a donation agency for those who want to help financially.
The foundation already has created a disaster fund to prepare Grundy County for future emergencies. To donate, visit cfgrundycounty.com/donate-online-to-the-new-gc-disaster-fund.