Youth helps tornado victims

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Sunday, June 3, 2012

It didn't take long for David LaVanne to get moving when he heard about the devastation caused by the tornadoes that hit southern Illinois Feb. 29.

LaVanne, a parishioner at St. Francis de Sales Parish, Eagle Scout and a senior at Lake Zurich High School, approached Father David Ryan, St. Francis de Sales' pastor, the very next day, saying, "Father, we have to do something for southern Illinois."

So the parish put out bins for canned goods and bottled water and took up monetary collections for St. Mary Parish in Harrisburg and St. Joseph Parish in Ridgway, both communities that suffered damage.

At the end of March, Ryan joined LaVanne and his family — as well as his Boy Scout troop — in delivering two truckloads of food and water to the devastated communities. A week earlier, Father Ryan had visited the pastors of St. Mary and St. Joseph to deliver more than $30,000 in donations.

After delivering the goods, LaVanne said, "Witnessing the destruction firsthand made a strong impact on myself as well as those who traveled with me. I hope that the contributions will help make a difference in someone's life and help the people of Harrisburg overcome such a major setback."