Theresa Walker couldn't hold back the tears of joy when she saw friends and complete strangers helping with the clean-up of her shop that was devastated by Monday's wind storm.
Theresa and Bob Walker have operated the Panther Den and Press Yours on U in Camp Point for several years. They worked last weekend on an expansion in the building they rent just east of Main Street.
"We did a lot of work mudding (the walls) and putting in ceiling tiles" on Sunday, Theresa Walker said.
Bob Walker checked on the building about midnight before heading home to Coatsburg, five miles to the west.
High winds hit around 1:40 a.m. causing some damage to the Walkers' home. They checked on a nearby relative. Then Bob went to Camp Point and found the roof ripped from the building that had housed their businesses. Heavy rains had soaked T-shirts, shorts and other items. Parts of the ceiling fell into the shop in places.
"This was our baby," Theresa said Monday.
She was sitting next to her husband, in front of the store. Inside were soggy clothing items, equipment that is used to print signs, make screened prints, or do embroidery. They were waiting for a tractor-trailer rig to arrive so they could salvage their stock.
Gully Transportation sent a trailer to the Walkers about 4 p.m. that day. As the couple and a few helpers were moving clothing to the trailer, Theresa went home to walk the couple's dogs. When she was alone with the dogs, she cried for the first time since the wind storm.
She cried again, in appreciation, as she came back to the shop and saw 30 people helping move items to the trailer.
"It hit me when I drove up to see all these people, some we didn't even know, carrying stuff out of the shop," Theresa said.
A little later in the week Theresa was at home when she heard something outside. Her daughter told her she would cry again.
"Our neighbor and her boys came over to mow our yard," Theresa said.
Wednesday afternoon, the Walkers were still moving some items out of the shop and hoping to use a tow motor to move equipment that weighs up to 800 pounds. Theresa had spent the day calling clients who had contracted for printed clothing, which she can no longer provide.
Theresa does not doubt there will be tough days ahead. Yet she's got a song running through her mind: "Trust in the Lord Always."
"I'm happy we weren't in it when it did hit. I have a house and a place where I can lay my head and people have been absolutely wonderful," she said.
Theresa knows the most important things in her life were not taken away by the storm. They were just brought into sharper focus.