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Utica marks ten year anniversary of deadly tornado

Posted by wlpo on April 21, 2014

With showers falling from an ominous sky, prayers and song were used Monday evening to remember the deadly Utica tornado of April 20th, 2004.

Pastor Lloyd Johnson of the Utica Baptist Church talked about the moments of destruction and despair after the storm killed nine people. He gave credit though to village leaders and first responders for helping the village “rise from the ashes like a phoenix”.

Village President Gloria Alvarado says they continue to mourn those who died but also reflect on how the village has been rebuilt and improved since the storm. Everyone who spoke gave thanks to late-mayor Fred Esmond leading the village thru the recovery. Alvarado credited Esmond’s calm, strong leadership with propelling the village forward.

The short ceremony ended with the unveiling of a new sculpture made by Peru artist Steve Seaborn sitting just to the west of the tornado memorial. The sculpture features nine, stainless-steal hearts symbolizing the storm victims.

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