Family helps others at home after tornado

GIFFORD — Tim Dillman has been all over the country for relief help.

It's part of the job for the Gifford resident, whose duties with AT&T include managing maintenance of facilities.

"I've been to Louisiana after Katrina, to the east coast and to the west coast," Dillman said. "AT&T sent groups of 40 to 60 employes to rebuild the phone networks in those towns."

FEMA team tours Gifford

GIFFORD — A team of federal and state emergency management officials toured Gifford on Thursday afternoon to assess the damage caused by Sunday's tornado.

Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Nate Custer said that information gathered by the team will be used to support a state request for federal disaster assistance to help people affected by the twister.

15-mile scar begins to heal in tornado aftermath

Fifteen miles.

That's the length of the tornado that slashed Champaign County on Sunday. You could almost see it Thursday by all the burn piles full of gigantic tree limbs and brush, dotting the farmland in the northeast quadrant of the county.

LIVE from Gifford Thursday

Today, we'll be adding updates related to the Gifford tornado recovery efforts to this story.

REO to the rescue

BLOOMINGTON — Tickets go on sale Saturday for a concert headlined by local rock heroes REO Speedwagon as a benefit for tornado victims.

Services being restored in Gifford

GIFFORD — Emergency management officials reported that electricity had been restored by 5 p.m. Wednesday to most Gifford homes where it was safe to do so.

Rick Atterberry, spokesman for the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency, said electricity was still not available for those homes severely damaged by Sunday's tornado.

VIDEO: Main Street, Gifford, Nov. 20, 2013

Here's a short drive along Main Street in Gifford on the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013.

Tom Kacich: 'Are you all thankful?'

The problem with being the mayor of a small town in a big disaster is that the two usually converge.

Consider Derald Ackerman, the mayor — OK, his real title is village president — of tornado-raked Gifford.

Sunday's twister not only leveled about a quarter of his town, but it also lightly damaged his home and heavily damaged his farm outside of town.

Family gathered for early Thanksgiving gives thanks

GIFFORD — Duane and Carolyn Schluter's family gathered Sunday for an early Thanksgiving at their farmhouse northeast of Gifford.

Ten minutes after saying grace, they were even more grateful.

Eighteen people escaped serious injury by fleeing to the basement, seconds before a tornado swept the house away.

Storm levels Catlin house, but no one injured

RURAL CATLIN — Bob Varner said he can confirm what the National Weather Service has not been able to yet: Sunday's severe thunderstorm also produced a tornado in southern Vermilion County, which leveled his farmstead south of Catlin.

Danville offers collection of storm debris

DANVILLE - The Danville public works department is offering a special storm collection for limbs, branches and other storm-related debris.