Marc Woodridge/Naperville Tornado

Start Date: 06/26/2021


A tornado touched down in Woodridge and Naperville IL. Over 29 homes were totaled and 400 plus had severe damage. A MARC was called together and took place for 2 days in a school in the neighborhood to provide support and assistance to those affected by the Tornado. HOPE was invited to attend to provide support for the victims and workers. The event was well organized and well attended by the community. It was walking distance from the Tornado touch down which brought a lot of participants out for the support. Connie Peterson coordinated the event and acted as team leader the first day with two dog teams present. The second day Shay and Tazer acted as team leader with the additional team of Janel and Gossamer. There were few injuries during the tornado, but many of the participants had lost everything and were underinsured.

Many of the participants needed to tell their story. They seemed to tell their story to the dogs which brought them comfort. We worked the waiting line for most of the day which seem to help people as they were waiting to be processed. At one point a 6 year child was separated from his parent. He had previously petted Tazer and wandered over to us to help find his mother. The Red Cross had a system in place for this event and found his mother very quickly. The dogs were so recognizable to the child and seeking out assistance from a dog team was natural for the child.
A tornado watch/warning occurred that triggered many participants. The Red Cross manager came to get our dog teams to help with clients that were panicked. The interaction immediately calmed them. Once the first participant was calm the Red Cross manager came and moved us to another hysterical participant. Again, the dog was the key to them calming down.
At the end of the second day we were approached by the county's Homeland Security Coordinator that had watched our work for two days and said he wanted us on his team. He invited us to bring the dogs to their office and wants to consider us to be part of their drills.

Agency: Northeast Illinois COAD

DAY 1 Connie Peterson Team Leader, Shay and Tazer, Cathy and Anela Day 2 Shay and Tazer TL and Janel and Gossamer