Tornado deposits checkbook 65 miles away

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 11:35 AM

Jesse Rininger

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- A tornado that struck Harrisburg, Ill., Wednesday carried off a checkbook and deposited it 65 miles away in a parking lot here.

An instructor at Holy Redeemer Catholic School found the mangled, waterlogged checkbook in the school parking lot that morning and turned it in to the office.

The checkbook, containing a half-dozen yellow copies of old checks, bears the name J.D. Choisser.

Principal Marianne Webster said it was "very sobering" to realize someone had been attached to the checkbook: "It made me and everybody involved see how fragile life really is. ... This could be the only thing left of someone and we are treating it sacredly."

The checkbook's owner, Janis Choisser, was injured in the tornado. Choisser's daughter, Kristin Allen, told a Chicago Tribune reporter that "she's going to be just fine. She fared a lot better than a lot of people did."

Meanwhile, in an assembly Thursday, Webster announced the school would send a care package to the address found in the checkbook. She asked the students to write cards and letters, and to pray for Choisser.

"The kids were dead silent," Webster said. "They feel like they need to do something; they want to help."

Holy Redeemer students and staff are collecting money to send to Harrisburg.

"We are really trying to de-emphasize the money," Webster said. "We want the students and the community to realize it's more about showing someone you care and that they are in your prayers. ... I want them to see the goodness in the world, that we care about each other."

(Jesse Rininger wrote this story for The Evansville Courier in Indiana. Reach him at

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