WASHINGTON, Ill. -- Friday marked the first time Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) had gotten a look at the tornado damage in Washington with his own eyes.
"As an elected official, congressman and senator I've seen a lot of tornado damage. This is the worst I've ever seen. And it's the largest I've ever seen," Durbin said.
Durbin briefly walked a street in one of the devastated neighborhoods. He was accompanied by Washington mayor Gary Manier and the director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Jonathon Monken.
Monken encouraged residents to do what they can now to expedite the awesome task of clean up on their property.
"We want to make sure that everybody gets as much debris they can carry out to the curb as possible," said Monken. "We're going to do another surge of debris removal at the beginning of next week."
That's also when Durbin expects the wheels to start turning in Washington, D.C., to acquire federal disaster aid.
"By the beginning of next week the governor and the state will be submitting their data to the federal agencies for federal assistance," explained Durbin. "Senator Kirk and I, and the entire congressional delegation will be working make sure we bring home every dollar we can."
"Our citizens are going to bounce back," said Manier. "We're going to get up and you keep saying a year and I know its probably going to take even longer than that. I wish it was six months."
Whatever the timeline, Washington residents are in it for the long haul.