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The Dansville Online
  • Seventh person dies from southern Illinois tornado

  • Donald K. Smith, 70, died Wednesday night, coroner Jerry Watson announced during a 7 a.m. press conference today at the SIC Foundation building. Smith is the seventh victim of the Feb. 29 tornado in Harrisburg, Ill., that destroyed several duplexes on Brady Street where Smith lived with his wife, Kay "Phyllis" (Millspaugh) Smith.

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  • Donald K. Smith, 70, died Wednesday night, coroner Jerry Watson announced during a 7 a.m. press conference today at the SIC Foundation building.
    Smith is the seventh victim of the Feb. 29 tornado that destroyed several duplexes on Brady Street where Smith lived with his wife, Kay "Phyllis" (Millspaugh) Smith.
    According to their son-in-law Brad Evans of Creal Springs, the two had been called by their daughter Teresa Collins, who lives in the same subdivision, and told to get in the bathroom because the storm was coming. They did not reach the bathroom in time as the tornado tore the duplex building from the foundation and caused it to crash into the duplex across the street. Smith was buried in rubble, was discovered and flown to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Ind.
    Evans said Smith suffered a head injury, a punctured lung, broken ribs and lacerated spleen. His wife suffered multiple non-life-threatening injuries.
    Arrangements for Smith's funeral are pending from Vickery Funeral Home in Equality, the town where Smith formerly lived.
    During the press conference, several responding agencies updated the progress made in town and praised the aid from agencies and the selfless efforts of volunteers from Harrisburg and around the nation.
    "We wouldn't be where we are at if it was not for all the people who volunteer and stood up for Harrisburg," Saline County Board Chairman Jay Williams said.
    Mayor Eric Gregg said the efforts of volunteers have been an inspiration.
    "What I've experience the last few days is the resiliency of human spirit like I've never seen in my 50 years of life," Gregg said.
    He pledge Harrisburg will rebuild and will be bigger and better than ever.
    "If we get knocked down seven times we will get up eight times," Gregg said.
    Fire Chief Bill Summers said high winds have had the fire department conducting roaming patrols looking for burning since there has been a burning ban in place which has expired due to the rain.
    Summers said he has spent three days walking from house to house with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and praised the agency's professionalism in explaining the process of getting a presidential disaster declaration that would provide them monetary relief.
    Saline County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator thanked all those involved in the disaster response, from police, fire and ambulance crews, support of church organizations and Operation Blessing, Harrisburg Ministerial Alliance, volunteers and the SIC Foundation for the use of their building.
    Jody Gettys of Operation Blessing announced Friday that the St. Louis Rams football team will be volunteering in the community and holding an autographing event from 2-3 p.m. at Davenport Gym.
    "They wanted to be a moral boost to the community," Gettys said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Sandy Webster of the Egyptian Red Cross Chapter said local volunteers, Debbie Porter and Debby Hankins of Galatia had the Red Cross Shelter immediately set up after Webster received the call for aid at 6 a.m. Feb. 29.
    She said since that time the Red Cross has involved 464 volunteers from throughout the region and 19 volunteers from the St. Louis Red Cross chapter.
    Webster said the Red Cross has made contact with 224 people for mental health counseling and those volunteers are still working along with pastors and health service nurses helping people get medication replaced.
    Red Cross will be transitioning from Harrisburg First Baptist Church back to its office in Murphysboro. The phone number will continue to be (618) 529-1525 for those needing assistance.
    Major Kendall Mathews, regional coordinator of the Salvation Army, said 55 families averaging two per family have come to the Salvation Army to get vouchers. The Salvation Army is moving its operations out of the SIC Foundation building into the Salvation Army Thrift Store at 10 Locust Street.
    Harrisburg Police Assistant Chief David Morris the curfew in the damaged area will remain in effect through the weekend. The curfew will be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday due to the time change.
    Morris said he and Chief Bob Smith will reassess the situation Monday to determine if the curfew will continue next week.
    There have been no incidents of looting with the exception of one reported television theft that is unconfirmed, he said.
    Sgt. Michael Riden expressed thank to the affected residents for their patience.
    "I want to give thanks to the citizens who live in the area affected. I know it's been stressful to them," Riden said.
    Morris announced the creation of a fund of the Harrisburg Fraternal Order of the police to help children affected by the tornado. The Illinois State Police who have been stationed at the perimeter since the storm began the fund with a donation and it has grown to over $2,000. Donations may be made to Harrisburg FOP 152, P.O. Box 152, Harrisburg, IL 62946.
    Morris said through the weekend state police will conduct roving patrols through the area checking for permits. Those out passed the curfew hours will be asked to leave and if they refuse they will be arrested, Morris said.
     

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