Volunteers help RVC clean up tornado damage

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — With the fall semester just a day away, Rock Valley College gets some much-needed help after it was hit hard by Monday’s storms. Volunteers say they are ready to answer the call.

RVC was in the path of one of Monday’s tornadoes and now they are asking volunteers to help pick up debris scattered across the Mulford campus.

“You never figure it’s going to hit your area until it actually does,” explained Rock Valley College Chief of Police Rick Jenks.

Footage taken from Rock Valley College’s security camera shows the EF1 tornado. Many throughout the Stateline are still waiting for their lights to turn back on.

“We have more crews on site, we have more vegetation on site and managers on site which is important because there are so many trees down,” explained George Gaulrapp, the external affairs manager for ComEd.

“A majority of the outages were caused by fallen trees, tree branches windblown objects, things like that, so it’s important to clear off the trees so our technicians can get to the lines safely, and make sure we’re able to operate and connect and restore people in power,” Gaulrapp added.

There is good news for those still without electricity.

“We just don’t know what we’re going to run up against during the next outage the crews drive to, but I would say 11 o’clock tonight, we still may have a few stragglers,” he added.

As homeowners pick up branches in their backyard, volunteers stepped up to help clean RVC.

“It will be months of us tallying all the damage that had occurred,” Chief Jenks said.

Classes start Saturday and roads and walkways need to be clear.

“Anything they ask me to do truthfully, didn’t know what that was, so I just came prepared,” said one volunteer, Marlene Bukowski.

“We have a lot of metal debris, a lot of roofs here are shake roofs, so a piece of wood with nails hold it down, and hundreds if not thousands of those shakes were thrown into the air of the campus,” Chief Jenks said.

The cleanup efforts will continue on Saturday.

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