Tornado Recovery: Trees to be planted in downstate Washington - FOX 32 News Chicago

Tornado Recovery: Trees to be planted in downstate Washington

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(Todd Ryburn/Flickr) (Todd Ryburn/Flickr)
Damage from tornado Damage from tornado
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Most people take trees for granted. They stand tall by the hundreds virtually wherever you look, providing shade, fresh air and a sense of place.

However, in large parts of downstate Washington, Illinois, the trees are just a memory. They were uprooted and knocked down by the massive tornado that steamrolled the city last fall.

"We're a park district and so another park district got hit pretty hard. So, we wanted to reach out," said Carol Lange of the Palatine Park District.

Lange and other members of the Palatine Park District were among those who helped Washington residents recover in the aftermath of the storm.

While in Washington, Lange talked to a resident about the toll trees have taken.

"I grew up in a town that was hit by a tornado as well. So I was kind of commiserating with him about the loss of the trees. It's bad enough you lose homes, but you can rebuild a home. You can buy a new car. But the trees are gone," added Lange.

That seed of an idea has grown like a weed, and now the Palatine Park District is raising money to buy trees for Washington's devastated city parks.

So far they've ordered more than 200 Oak, Birch, Maple and White Fir Saplings.

"We made sure that some were quick growing so that they get shade quickly and some are there for posterity," said Corey Zak of the Palatine Park District.

The park district employees said their hope is, in time, that their gift of trees will grow and help heal the scars the killer storm left behind.

"They also bring comfort. People feel very comfortable around trees," Zak said.

"It gives a feeling of permanence and security, too…and it grows with you as you grow," added Cheryl Tynczuk of the Palatine Park District.

The trees will be delivered to Washington from a Minnesota nursery in April. Members of the Palatine Park District and community volunteers may be heading to Washington to help plant the trees the weekend following, appropriately enough, Arbor Day.

For anyone interested in donating or volunteering to help buy and plant trees in Washington, click HERE.

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