By: Donnie Tillman
PEKIN -- Local leaders got together Monday morning to discuss the development of long-term plans for helping tornado victims.
The Illinois Strong Crisis Counselor Program is now up and running courtesy of a grant given to the the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Plans are to have counselors visit with residents effected by the tornado and attend community events.
The goal is to offer emotional help and provide resource information to those in need of moving forward.
Tricia O'Neal, Director of Tazwood Clinical Services says, "One of the things really is just helping the population to understand that this is normal. It's normal for individuals to experience both behavioral and emotional changes following a natural disaster."
Our residents are incredible and they're willing to help. For a financial standpoint, I've had residents offer to say, although we're not going to pay taxes for a couple years, we'd like to pay them anyway. So, that's what our community is all about. We're going to survive one way or another, with or without Federal help" says Washington Mayor Gary Manier.
A total of eight crisis counselors have been hired on a temporary basis by Tazwood and will receive 16 hours of special training.
If you need any help call 1-800-985-5990.