Governor Pat Quinn met with the parents of 22-year-old Harrisburg tornado victim Jaylynn Ferrell, an Southeastern Illinois College graduate in nursing, and spoke of the pain of losing one's child.
"I can think of no greater loss for parents than losing their child," said Quinn to an assembled group of local leaders at the south entrance to Harrisburg Medical Center shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday. "Our hearts go out to you both," he said to Dennis "D.J." and Patty Ferrell.
Patty Ferrell spoke of her daughter's dedication to helping others and also spoke of how proud both she and her husband were of their daughter.
Quinn visited tornado damaged areas of the city and viewed first hand the progress that has been made due in part to the $8.8 million in state aid following the disaster. Several state of Illinois agencies provided funding and manpower to clean up, rebuild and improve storm-ravaged areas of Southern Illinois following the Feb. 29, 2012, tornado.
"When the federal government was unable to provide assistance to the five-county area, I ordered agencies under my control to help in every way possible," Quinn said. "Today I am happy to see that Harrisburg is once again a thriving community that demonstrates the resilience and determination of Southern Illinois."
State assistance helped individuals, businesses and local governments in Saline, Gallatin, Randolph, Union and Williamson Counties recover from the deadly series of tornadoes.
"Governor Quinn told me that he had not forgotten Southern Illinois and Harrisburg, and that he would continue to get help for us," said Harrisburg Mayor Ron Crank. "He kept his word and thanks to Governor Quinn and his staff, Harrisburg has been put back together."
Former Mayor Eric Gregg said, "He has been a true friend to our community and area, and we want to personally thank him for helping us put this community back together. Without Governor Quinn's leadership and commitment we would still be picking up the pieces. We are back thanks to Governor Quinn and his staff."
Gregg resigned his position as mayor of Harrisburg after Quinn appointed him to a job on the Illinois Prison Review Board.
Gregg presented Quinn with a certificate of appreciation for his support of the area.