Group travels from Illinois to volunteer in Phil Campbell - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Group travels from Illinois to volunteer in Phil Campbell

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PHIL CAMPBELL, AL (WAFF) -

A group from Illinois is in Phil Campbell to help with the clean up effort.

Chad Forrester, a 1989 graduate of Phil Campbell High School, watched from his home in Rockford, Illinois, as the EF-5 tornado destroyed his hometown.

"You just kind of think 'Oh well it's another storm. It isn't that big of deal' and then started getting the shout outs that the high school was gone," said Forrester.

Forrester talked to his son Austin about coming down after school ended, and on Wednesday, he, his son, and four of the 15-year-old's friends drove the 11 hours from Illinois to Phil Campbell.

"I've been coming here forever and I love it down here. I saw pictures online, but I didn't think it'd be anything like this," Forrester said.

The rest of the group has no ties to Alabama, but say that doesn't matter because they know they're making a difference.

"Raking someone's front lawn -- this will mean to the world to this person, just helping out. I have a week of my summer I can give why not come help where it really needs to be. For me it's a lot of closure personally," said Kyle Reitmaier.

The group brought plenty of water to combat the heat. They will spend another couple days helping before returning north to Illinois.

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