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Volunteers head to Taylorville as disaster area declared

"There's a scripture that says 'God created good works in advance for us to do' and we need to do them now."

Taylorville, IL — TAYLORVILLE, Ill. — Monday night, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner declared a disaster area in Taylorville, a small town in Christian County. The town was hit hard by tornadoes Saturday afternoon with dozens of buildings damaged and some homes destroyed.

It's times like this when a community's strength is tested. But the people of Taylorville are getting help from the St. Louis area.

Josh Peterson of the Lutheran Emergency Response Team isn’t a professional tree trimmer. He's just a regular guy with a particular set of skills.

“I like playing with chainsaws and I like helping people out,” Peterson said Monday afternoon, standing in the front yard of a home surrounded by fallen trees.

As a member of the Lutheran Church, he's also a man who feels called to serve others.

“There's a scripture that says ‘God created good works in advance for us to do,’ and we need to do them now.”

That's why Peterson and two members of his team took off work to travel to Taylorville from the Metro East. Peterson knows even the smallest effort can make a difference.

“I've been through grief myself and it's so meaningful when somebody comes and helps you,” he said.

Bob Wells owns the home where the team was working Monday afternoon.

“They asked if they could help out and I said ‘Yeah, I’m too old to be doing this on my own,’” said Wells. “I've been trying to do a little bit myself. But, it's a Godsend that we have these other people here.”

Peterson’s team will be in Taylorville through Tuesday. And they hope the next wave of volunteers will fill in behind them.

“It's best to get involved with an organization of some kind. The Lutherans only take Lutherans and the Baptists only take Baptists. but there are all kinds of groups. So, if you go to the Red Cross headquarters and say, ‘Hey I'm a warm body, use me,’ they'll be glad to take people. There's lots to be done here.”

If you would like to help, you can connect with them on their website or on Facebook.

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