Seventy-five deluxe weather alert radios planned for free distribution Sunday morning to La Salle County residents were snapped up in just 14 minutes.
The weather radios were given away through a joint program by the La Salle County Emergency Management Agency, Illinois EMA, Illinois Emergency Services Management Association and Home Hardware in Ottawa.
The giveaway was scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon at Home Hardware. But when county EMA Director Connie Brooks and Deputy Director Fred Moore arrived at 9:30 a.m. to set up, they found local residents waiting. The line stretched around the front inside of the store.
The weather alert radio was the Midland WR120 model, which retails for $40. They were accompanied by personal preparedness information from the county EMA. For those waiting in line after the supply of free weather radios was exhausted, Home Hardware owner Ruth Snelting sold her existing store supply of the radios for $20 each until they ran out. Then she offered rain checks for a future weather radio purchase for $20.
“That’s below cost, but I’m glad the people showed up,” Snelting said. “The most important thing is we get the county prepared.”
Snelting also offered participating residents a 20% discount on a variety of home preparedness supplies.
“The main goal today was to get preparedness tools into people’s hands and into their homes to help our citizens be more prepared, and we achieved that," said Connie Brooks, Director La Salle County Emergency Management Agency.