Tornado victim's family searching for memories in Fairdale - – Rockford’s News Leader

Tornado victim's family searching for memories in Fairdale

Tyler Rowan finds his military fatigues. Tyler Rowan finds his military fatigues.
Clem and Geri Schultz Clem and Geri Schultz
FAIRDALE, Ill. (WREX) - Fairdale residents work to pick up the pieces of their lives following Thursday's tornado. 13 News reporter Rebecca Klopf was the only TV news camera allowed into the town today. She met with one of the victim's families as they try to recover their grandmother's memories.

Heavy machinery runs non-stop in Fairdale as residents work in their shut down town. Most are searching for memories.

"Pretty much it's all I care about. I really don't need to find much of my own stuff," says Tyler Rowan.

Very little is standing in Fairdale. The tornado touched down in the center of town.

"You don't see any structures standing this was all flattened. This is where we recovered Mrs. Schultz and Jackie [Klosa], the two people that we lost," says Lt. Carl Bruder, Kirkland Fire Department.

Jackie Klosa and Geri Schultz were killed Thursday. The two lived next door to each other.

"Jackie's house was actually picked up, tore apart and the tornado threw it into our house," says Rowan, grandson of Geri Schultz.

Rowan lived with his grandparents, Geri and Clem Schultz. He was in Belvidere when the tornado hit. He raced back and helped pull his grandmother's body from the wreckage.

Now his family is raking through the debris of his home and Klosa's. Her house basically ended up on top of his.

"She was my grandma's best so our two families have been working so our two families have been working close together sorting through stuff. If we find pictures we don't recognize we take it to their family," says Rowan.

Besides dealing with the loss of his grandmother, Rowan is also sorting through the rubble to find what's left of his own things.

We were with Rowan as he found his fatigues. The 20-year-old is an Army Police Officer. He is suppose to ship back out in May. But he says all he can think about right now is his family and burying his grandmother.

"The first couple of days it was emotionally really tough. Now I realized i can handle it and basically realize that I need to get through this," Rowan says.
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