On Thursday March 30, Southeastern Illinois College held a ribbon cutting for the memorial and fountain built on campus honoring the victims of the 2012 Leap Day Tornado. During the event, many representatives of SIC spoke, including Dr. Jonah Rice, SIC President; David Port, SIC Foundation Board Chair; Brenna Butler, former SIC Student Government President and Dr. Pat York, SIC Board of Trustees Chair. Port spoke of the collaboration with SIC, the Foundation and Student Government and how the combined effort turned an idea into a reality. “Working together is something we take great pride in doing here at Southeastern,” said Port. “SIC’s Student Government had a vision to honor those who suffered during the tornado, and to improve the fountain and student center. Alone, this seemed like just a dream, but in cooperation with SIC and the Foundation, we are now seeing this vision to fruition.”
This event was the culmination of the fundraising campaign, Building for Tomorrow led by SIC’s Student Government in 2016. “Since 2012, it has been Student Government’s desire to have a permanent memorial on campus to honor those who lost their lives on that devastating February morning,” said Butler. “We are proud to see this project completed in honor of those we love.” The memorial includes the saying “Those we love don’t go away, the walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear.” The existing fountain was resurfaced and given a fresh, new look, including a bubbling fountain out of a large stone reminiscent of those found in the Shawnee National Forest. The memorial project began on February 24, 2016 with a kickoff ceremony, and bricks were sold from then through the end of May 2016. Over $22,000 was raised by selling 220 engraved bricks to complete the memorial and fountain. Additional funds raised will now go to support student services and scholarships through the SIC Foundation. Engravings were purchased in an individual’s name or the name of a friend or family member; in celebration of a graduation, in honor of a soldier or veteran, and in memory of loved ones. Bricks were also used to honor campus clubs and organizations, commemorate retirees and employees and to leave legacies for families on the college grounds for future generations. Businesses, firms and organizations also participated.