The Town That Fights Back

By Nick Perreault

April 7, 2011 Updated Apr 8, 2011 at 11:40 AM CDT

The Peoria County Sheriffs Office received a phone call early Tuesday morning about vandalism in the town of Elmwood.

Elmwood's football coach, Todd Hollis and his family were the targets.

"This action is despicable and just can not be tolerated that someone would do this to another individual," said Peoria County Sheriff, Mike McCoy.

The home was covered with red spray paint, along with Coach Hollis's car with vulgar and demeaning phrases towards toward the coach and his two children with Down Syndrome.

The Hollis family said the event has not been all negative, in fact they received hundreds of offers to help repaint their house and have had offers from members of the community to help in any way they can.

"Our goal is to raise community awareness for victims," said Elmwood Parent, Veronica Haskell.

Haskell was so outraged that she along with other mothers throughout the community created a task force.

The group first started online with Facebook page, "Not in Our Town Elmwood", and then on the ground with ribbons.

"The color dark blue symbolizes victim awareness, and we are a community that rallies behind each other and when you hurt one of us you hurt all of us," Haskell said.

Elmwood school district is taking the opportunity to make turn the incident into an educational tool.

"We're hoping to not only catch the perpetrators, but also to engage our students in some educational efforts to moving forward to teach them a little bit about diversity and acceptance," said Elmwood Superintendent, Roger L. Alvey.

Currently there are two Peoria county detectives working on the case with the Elmwood Police Department.

If anyone has any information, the Sheriff's Department encourages you to contact them at 309-697-7822.

If you would like to place a donation or purchase a blue ribbon you can contact Bee's & Bloom's Flower Shop in Elmwood at
309-742-2337.

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