The Red Cross Returns to Gifford - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

The Red Cross Returns to Gifford

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Help has been quite the commodity here in Gifford. The village has been denied grants from some organizations and awarded grants from others.. but the one group that's been consistent is the Red Cross. They were here right after the storm hit and they are back.. assessing the needs of the community for a second time.

Even though it's been 4 months since tornadoes struck Gifford, Beverly Heiden is still in recovery.

"I lost my home and most of my belongings," said Heiden. "It's been very emotional."

Dave Boyles of the Red Cross says the rebuilding process continues.

"You can drive through town, you can see there's just a tremendous amount of work left to be done," said Boyles.

So when Beverly got a call that help was on the way, she felt hopeful.

"They had called me and asked about deductibles," said Heiden. "And they came back to reimburse people their insurance deductibles. FEMA did help out some people, but if you had insurance in a total loss, you did not qualify."

Boyles says, "Most policies charge a deductible maybe anywhere, we've seen them from 250 up to 10 thousand dollars. So that deductible becomes a very important piece to be able to recover."

The village of Gifford as denied financial aid from FEMA, but they did receive a grant from another organization. Except that money was given to the village itself to be put toward infrastructure.. not residences. So, Boyles says Red Cross decided to return to Gifford and set up shop once again.

"We do do the financial assistance, so anyone that comes in for the meeting, as long as their house met the description of destroyed, they usually leave here with some kind of financial assistance which is a credit card with the money on it," said Boyles.

He says this is far from over.

"Long term recovery phase is just starting now, and it'll last up to another year."

Red Cross representatives will be at the United Methodist Church in Gifford, Monday through Saturday, all the way until April 12th. You can set up an appointment anytime between 9am and 5pm or just walk in.

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