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Remaining donations to be split among tornado victims

DIAMOND – The more than $200,000 remaining in tornado relief funds will be divided equally among all tornado victims in the Diamond and Coal City area, with a portion designated for business owners and another for homeowners.

About 60 business and homeowners affected by November’s tornado attended a special Village of Diamond meeting Tuesday, which addressed the distribution of the remaining tornado relief funds.

Diamond, Coal City and local charities have struggled to find the best way to distribute the funds since donations began pouring in hours after the tornado struck in November. The decision to evenly split the remaining funds between the 225 families and several businesses impacted by the tornado came after input from tornado victims and local officials.

“It was very refreshing to see the group of people and to know that their hearts were in the right place,” Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc said Wednesday. “From my point of view, the meeting truly could not have gone any better.”

Recipients who feel they’ve received enough monetary assistance can donate the funds to one of the village’s suggested local charities, which will be included with each check.

The remaining funds are in several accounts.

There is $42,000 in the Community Foundation Tornado Relief Fund Account maintained by the Community Foundation of Grundy County, We Care, Operation St. Nick and Grundy County United Way. The Community Foundation already has provided $172,938 in tornado relief to date, Community Foundation Executive Director Julie Buck said.

“None of us are trained insurance adjusters so when it started taking on a subjective feel – that ‘Your house was more damaged than mine’ – we realized that was not going to be the best practice for moving forward,” Buck said Wednesday. “We four organizations are glad to see it split evenly. It takes the subjective part out of our work.”

An additional $157,352 remains in the Diamond Coal City Tornado Relief Fund bank account managed by the Mazon Bank.

On top of that, the Diamond/Coal City Tornado Relief Fund is expected to receive an additional $50,000 or more from Excelon’s annual ‘Fishing for a Cure’ tournament.

The first Fishing for a Cure event is scheduled for April 19, with proceeds going toward the relief fund. Following the April event, checks will be distributed to each of the homeowners affected by the tornado.

A separate Fishing for a Cure children’s event is scheduled for June 7. All proceeds from the children’s event will be divided evenly among the businesses that sustained damage during the tornado.

Before any of the funds are distributed, the affected businesses also will have the opportunity to apply for $1,000 loans.

Kernc said there are about 100 miscellaneous gift cards of various value that will randomly be included with checks before they are distributed.

By June 7, the Diamond/Coal City Tornado Relief Fund will be closed and any future money will be forwarded on to the Community Foundation of Grundy County.

“I was really very proud of how everyone came together,” Kernc said Wednesday. “I am very pleased with the resolution we’ve come to.”

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