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July 10, 2020

Operation Rebuild along with Imperial Crane Assist the Giest Family after an EF-4 Tornado

After a violent EF-4 tornado ripped through the rural town of Fairdale, IL on April 9, 2015, Rick and Dawn Giest lost their home, barn, and most of their belongings. This deadly tornado traveled 15 to 20 miles on the ground with hail and wind gusts up to 91mph. Dawn’s 34 year old horse “Diamond” made it through this horrific tornado, but unfortunately the horse “Annie” who the family was boarding for a friend didn’t make it.


After spending 4 ½ months in a hotel and living in a small mobile home, it was time for the Giest family to start building a new home with memories to follow. The Giest’s decided to move out of Fairdale, IL and purchase property in Oregon, IL on Gale Road. They used the majority of their insurance money to buy the property and building materials but still fell short. That’s where Operation Rebuild, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization stepped in to help. Operation Rebuild is a group of volunteers that came together to assist those that were affected by the tornado.

Regina Smola, the organizer of Operation Rebuild reached out to Imperial Crane asking if a crane could be donated to help lift the roof trusses for this family. Imperial quickly responded without hesitation after hearing about the lives that were affected during this tornado.

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On Sunday, November 22nd after Chicagoland’s first snowfall of the season, Imperial sent a 40 ton crane along with Bruce Gay an operator to the job site. In 22 degree temperatures, Bruce donated ten hours of his time installing the roof trusses along with assisting in other carpentry work.

Imperial Crane’s assistance for one day is only a fraction of what still needs to be done for the Giest family to move in. For more information, to volunteer, or to donate, please contact Regina Smola at 218-206-3455.