Washington gathers to reflect as tornado anniversary approaches

Prayer breakfast held on the day before the 10th anniversary of the devastating tornado.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 4:26 PM CST
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PEORIA (25News Now) - The Washington community gathered Thursday morning for the Mayor’s 29th Annual Prayer Breakfast.

An event that includes city leaders and community members coming together in their faith, was especially somber this year. Friday marks ten years since a deadly EF4 tornado pummeled the city.

Mayor Gary Manier says some of the damage done can never be fixed, but Washington has never been stronger.

“We continue to grow which is amazing. People wanted to stay here and rebuild, and a lot of people continue to move here. Obviously, the only way you can really tell is the vegetation. The trees aren’t quite as tall through that part of the city. We’re just thankful for all our residents and everything they did to help us rebuild,” the mayor said.

Tim Gleason, a former city administrator for Washington and now Bloomington’s city manager, also hailed the efforts made after the tornado struck. “Truly I think we did a really good job in this recovery. Honestly, it is a model in a lot of ways to other communities that are trying to recover after a disaster.”

More than 600 Washington homes were lost to the 2013 tornado. 245 people were hurt, and 3 lost their lives.