Memorial planned to honor Leap Day tornado victims

The 2011 Leap Day tornado changed many lives forever. In Harrisburg, Illinois, alone eight people were killed, and entire neighborhoods were leveled.

Cold, snowy days like this Wednesday don’t compare to the Leap Day tornado for the 9,100 people who call Harrisburg home.

"It’s just an unimaginable sight,” said Patty Ferrell. “It just doesn’t do it justice when you go out and you see peoples lives, photos, and everything that was important to them on the earth, scattered."

Four years later, Ferrell vividly remembers the moment she found out she lost her 22-year-old daughter Jaylynn.

"It seems like everything was just in slow motion," said Ferrell.

To honor Jaylynn’s memory, along with those who were lost in the Leap Day tornado, Southeastern Illinois College Student Government President Brenna Butler is working with her college to raise between $25,000 and $30,000 to build a memorial that would overlook the tornado’s path four years ago.

"I’ve always wanted to help in any way,” said Butler. “I volunteer some places, but this is really nice to leave a lasting legacy."

Brick by brick, Ferrell believes the memorial will forever cement her daughter’s memory in the minds of the community.

"It’s nice to know that she is going to be remembered,” said Ferrell. “Years from now, people will be able to read the bricks to look at the different inscriptions and know that was a person. That was someone who walked these halls."

Once the college reaches its goal of selling 550 bricks, the memorial four years in the making will finally take shape.

If you’d like to buy a brick for the memorial or make a donation, click here

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