Illinois prison inmates help clean up tornado destruction

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TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (WAND) - Inmates from the Illinois Department of Corrections joined in for the clean up efforts in Taylorville after tornadoes swept through the area on Saturday. 

Work crews from IDOC used rakes, shovels and bare hands to clean up debris. 

"Currently, we're going through and picking up all the debris as far as the tree limbs. The metal and the plastic are put off to the side. Those will be picked up at a later date," said Lt. David White. 

Across town, we caught up with Lisa Stolte who was doing her part with a smart phone, creating a lost-and-found Facebook page. Neighbors can post items they've found blown in from the storm. 

"A lot of pictures have been posting which is very meaningful because some pictures can't be replaced anymore. That's a big thing for me because family's important," said Stolte. 

Governor Bruce Rauner declared Christian County a disaster area. Tuesday morning, officials explained what that means now. 

"The biggest advantage to the declaration is the opening up of overtime expense for the state. It allows us to be able to dig into those resources as long as we need them," said Fire Chief Mike Crews. 

Others in the city are also stepping up to help. 

"They're always willing to help with the community, and they get a lot of stuff accomplished. They're proud to do this. They're happy to be a part of it." said Crews. "Everyone counts, and if everyone can find those items, that would be great." 

The inmates all volunteered to take part in the clean up. 

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