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March 3, 2013

Pekin residents work to get over family’s death, fight through ‘red tape’



“The only problem I had was with the government. There was just so much red tape,” Anderson said. “You had some government guy say you can’t put shingles in that fire, you can’t burn metal and all that kind of stuff. Dude, we’re worried about getting these people cleaned up enough just to get them back in their house.”

Some residents said they also couldn’t understand why their town and tragedy didn’t receive as much press attention as other areas affected. At times, they felt ignored. 

“We never got the news coverage that Henryville got. I think everything poured into Henryville and not as much poured in here from the national scene. Locally, all the churches pitched in and the community,” Anderson said. “As far as nationally, everything seemed to go to Henryville.”

March2Recovery has begun to aid those neighbors in need. Executive Director Carolyn King said that Washington County Community Foundation alone has already donated $150,000 in assistance to the organization that is then passed along to those with hardships. 

Anderson, whose sister lost her house on Daisy Hill, said he didn’t understand why the aid distribution had been so slow. King answered that grants took a while, sometimes longer than expected, to come through. 

She apologized for the wait, but also explained the reason behind the delay. The request for the money needed to be fully vetted and that takes time, she said. They strive to ensure the people applying truly are in need and have pursued every other option available.

“I’m sorry that it was as slow coming as it was because I know it was frustrating people. We’re finding people are being very patient now that they know. I think it’s the unknown that makes people feel anxious,” King said. “Hopefully they’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel right now.” 

When asked what others could do to help the small town continue to recover, Lanham had only one suggestion.

“Keep us in your prayers,” he said.

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