HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) - Dozens attended a memorial service honoring the victims of the 2012 Leap Day tornado at Southeastern Illinois College (SIC) in Harrisburg, Illinois on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
The memorial service featured encouraging words from community leaders and a performance by the SIC Concert Choir. The keynote speaker was the mother of the youngest victim killed in the Leap Day tornado.
Patty Ferrell said the loss of her daughter Jaylnn, 22, has been a difficult road. Jaylynn was a 2011 graduate of SIC and a registered nurse at Harrisburg Medical Center. Patty Ferrell went on to say that she's proud of the way the community stepped up to help victims of the tornado.
Ida Smith-Evans father, Donald Smith, died as result of the tornado. She said her family is still struggling with the loss.
"You just never think it's going to happen to you and then it does," Smith-Evans said. "It makes you aware of a lot, a lot of things. Possessions don't mean anything, buildings don't mean anything, you know. It's the loved ones that you lose and you can't replace them."
The service was also a kickoff for a fundraising campaign to build a memorial and fountain to honor the leap day tornado victims.
The fundraiser is organized by the Student Government Association of SIC. Bricks are being sold to be placed at the site and to help pay for the project.
Bricks can be purchased until the end of May. The memorial is expected to cost between $24,000 and $30,000.
Project organizers would like it to be complete by August.