Harrisburg remembering Leap Year tornado Monday

HARRISBURG, Ill. (AP/KFVS) - People gathered to mark the anniversary of a deadly tornado that killed eight people in the small Saline County community of Harrisburg on a day that hasn't been on the calendar in four years.

Though the tornado happened four years ago, this will mark the first time that the community has been able to gather for a memorial service on the exact anniversary of the tornado because this is a Leap Year and Monday will be the first Feb. 29 since 2012.

The ceremony was held at noon Monday at the Tornado Memorial Site near the First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust. It's located at 719 Rollie Moore Drive.

Jennifer Reed's grandmother, Mary Osman, was one of the eight victims who died from the EF4 tornado.

For Reed, she says it was all a blur.

"I didn't sleep all night," Reed said. "I worked across the street, we came and checked the building and saw the damage over here and realized it went straight for my grandma."

For Reed, seeing a community come together during a devastating anniversary, means a lot.

It's sad and it always will be, but it's nice to see that people haven't forgotten and that they do care. And even after all this, there's still this sense of community that I have never seen before," Reed said. "We're grateful."

The Evansville Courier & Press (bit.ly/1KRfjG7) reports that Harrisburg Mayor Dale Fowler and Eric Gregg, the mayor in 2012, are scheduled to speak at Monday's event that is expected to be attended by people whose family members were killed in the twister.

Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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