When Lou Blanc went to pick up his newspaper outside his Arlington Heights home Monday morning, he noticed a small, folded slip of paper nearby.
He opened it up and found a blank personal check with a Washington, Ill., address.
Contact information ( * required )
How you can help tornado victimsSalvation Army
To donate via U.S. mail, send a check made out to the Salvation Army with "November tornadoes" in the memo line.
The Salvation Army
Attn: November tornadoes
10 W. Algonquin Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016-6000
Or you can donate online at donate.salvationarmyusa.org/usc/2013-storms.
American Red Cross
You can donate specifically to disaster relief online at www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&itemId=prod10002 or by calling (800) RED CROSS.
You also can donate $10 by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999.
"It's a little wet and worse for the wear, but it came an awfully long way in a short period of time," Blanc said of the check that traveled more than 150 miles after an EF-4 tornado hit its owner's home outside Peoria on Sunday.
The check belongs to Keith Zimmerman, a music professor at Bradley University. Zimmerman couldn't be reached Monday. A secretary at the university said Zimmerman was not hurt by the tornado but his house was badly damaged.
Blanc said he and his wife have been looking up Zimmerman online in hopes of getting in touch with him.
"I'd ask him if he wants this check back, he's welcome to it," Blanc said. "I don't know how much good it's going to do him at this point."
Charles Mott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago, said objects from tornadoes can be carried hundreds of miles away from the site of the storm.
"That stuff happens a lot with strong tornadoes," he said.
The weather service has heard many similar reports since the powerful storms swept through the region Sunday.
"It all depends on the wind speed, direction and a number of other factors," Mott said.
According to The Weather Channel, debris from Washington has been found all over Illinois. Along with the one found in Arlington Heights, personal checks from Washington were found in Hinsdale and Romeoville. The Peoria Journal-Star reported that mail and part of a birth certificate were found in Channahon, 80 miles away from the storm.
Sometimes the debris can even be tracked by radar, according to The Weather Channel.
A Facebook group has been started for people who found photos from the Sunday storms in hopes of reuniting the mementos with their owners. People from Bolingbrook, Joliet, Morris, Plainfield and Minooka have posted on the group.
"It's kind of interesting it could even come this far," Blanc said.
"Shows how strong that wind must have been down there."