When the call went out for help after a late-season tornado swept across downstate Washington in November, Oak Park was among the first to respond.
Foresters Dan Bartl and Ron Schwab and mechanics Charles “Rusty” Miller and Tom Glenn joined responders from across Illinois who rushed to the small town near Peoria to help clean up the devastation the powerful twister had left behind.
Bartl and Schwab brought along Oak Park’s specialized log loading truck to help remove debris, while Glenn and Miller were there to ensure the heavy equipment operated around the clock.
These Oak Park Public Works Department workers answered a call for help issued through the Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network (IPWMAN). This state-wide aid network ensures participating municipalities can rely on each other when emergency response needs exceed a community’s resources.
Under the terms of the mutual aid agreement, member communities provide equipment and personnel for up to five days, while the community requesting assistance provides meals, lodging and fuel.
As a member of the IPWMAN, should Oak Park experience a major emergency, the Village could call on other communities to provide similar support.
Once safely back in Oak Park, the Public Works crew shared a similar view on the situation in Washington — neither video nor photographs could adequately capture just how bad conditions were in the community. All were glad to have been able to help in the cleanup effort.