Siren test brings Washington child to tears while mother fights for normalcy

By WEEK Reporter

March 5, 2014 Updated Mar 5, 2014 at 3:38 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- The emergency sirens that blared Tuesday in Washington had a chilling effect on one Washington family fighting to move on.

Tuesday, Washington mother Katie Beasley stood on the empty plot of land she once called home. She held her youngest daughter, 3 year-old Rielle, reflecting on the EF-4 tornadoes that tore her home to the ground.

"We started to see roofs gone, garages gone and then we looked over and we saw our entire house was melted down. There was one tress standing," said Katie.

Today, she's standing tall even after hearing the tornado sirens. Katie, like many survivors, heard those sirens for the first time since the storm. Tests have been held every month since, but they've been silent. Officials say doing the full test is part of the process to get back to a normal routine.

Rielle covers her ears after her mother told her what they would hear. She cried moments into the test, whimpering when the sounds got louder.

"My kids visually saw it and so they still have a hard time hearing those sounds," explained Katie. "They still always ask, 'Is there a tornado coming?'"

The parents are teaching their kids not to be afraid of the test. Katie reminds her kids that the siren saves lives. Now, Katie is fighting for normalcy.

"I just need to reassure them that we made it once, we can make it again, we just need to know what exactly we should do and have a plan," she said.

Though Katie, her husband Ryan and her three kids; 8-year-old Reed, 6 year-old Rigley and 3-year-old Rielle, all survived their two beloved dogs did not.

"It's hard to be strong," Katie said. "Ever since November 17th, I feel like "victim" is tattooed on my forehead, and I don't want it to be. I want to beat this. I want to overcome it. I don't want it to be who we are."

The Beasley's will begin rebuilding their home next week.

"My ultimate hope...I'm already seeing it. Just the way our community is together, and just everywhere I go I see a warm smile," said Katie. "It's amazing just to walk through the town, walk through the square and know that everyone is here to support you."

Katie Beasley is a survivor in a town stronger than any EF-4 tornado.

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