Harrisburg family count their blessings this Easter

HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) - There is hope in Harrisburg this Easter just over six weeks after a deadly tornado brought the town to its knees.

Easter Sunday morning on Cherry Tree Place in Harrisburg, the Butler family shared their memories of a morning that changed the face of their neighborhood.

Jim and Stacy Butler say people in Harrisburg never expected a tornado, let alone a deadly EF-4. It was a twister with a vengeance that claimed seven lives, destroyed dozens of homes and tested Harrisburg's faith.

"The sirens went off and my wife corralled us to the basement, we took the dogs," said Jim Butler.

Jim says it blew through quickly, lasting less than a minute. But long enough to take whatever it wanted.

"I lost 28 trees," he said.

Stacy frequently walked the neighborhood she grew up in, checking on lifelong friends and her childhood home.

"I did find out they are going so save it," she said. "It means a lot. I grew up there."

She says their current home became known as a haven of little luxuries, such as fresh coffee and warm food.

"This was an area where people would leave things," she said. "We were one of the lucky ones. We were blessed. We still had our home, our lives."

Somehow they explain the tornado brought their family and community a rebirth in appreciation of simple blessings.

"You don't always realize how much people care," said Stacy.

On Easter, the couple says they focus on God's many gifts and how lucky they feel to live in Harrisburg. A place they say has a foundation in faith that can never be destroyed.

"I've lived here all my life, my wife's lived here, our families," said Jim. "There's a reason we haven't moved."

Meanwhile, several state agencies pledged more $13 million for the tornado recovery just last week.

Funds will provide up to $40,000 to home owners who were underinsured, or who had no insurance.

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