Fairdale Residents Remember Devastating Tornado


Sunday marked two years since the tornado hit Rochelle and Fairdale, taking the lives of two people, and wiping out nearly 70 homes. 

“(We) get over the railroad tracks and wow, there it is,” said Fairdale resident Rodney Jacobson.

“We just put it (the car) in reverse and floored it all the way home, made it to the basement in a matter of moments before it hit,” he added, remembering the night an EF-4 tornado tore through his hometown.

Jacobson recalled  the damage the storm did to his own home. “It tore the front of the house off and the top roof,” he said. “It pretty much destroyed the house,” he added.

Jacobson and his wife Stephanie are now living in a new home, something they are still adjusting to. “It’s hard because there are a lot of memories, and physical and material things that I don’t have that was a lot of memories,” Stephanie Jacobson added.

Stephanie believes that Fairdale residents are now a stronger community due to the tragedy. “To endeavor something that we did and still be able to stand tall and accept it all as it is and move forward is amazing,” she said.

Fellow Fairdale resident Ann Bottom agreed. “Sometimes you go through life and sometimes people don’t understand,” Bottom said.  “I have a whole community that understands what I went through and I know that when I need somebody, I can just reach out and ask and it’s a great feeling to have,” she added.

“I hope that two years, four years, ten years, twenty years, that we still have the same community,” Stephanie Jacobson added. Residents of Fairdale had a picnic and remembrance for those lost, and also a celebration for new beginnings.

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