April 21, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Belvidere tornado that killed 24, 17 of those were children.  Members of the community gathered at Belvidere High School Friday afternoon to tell their stories of survival and remember those who were lost.

On Friday, April 21, 1967, just before 4 p.m., the community was getting ready for the weekend.  School was dismissed. Connie Harris was 13 years old. She remembers getting on the bus to go home on a Friday afternoon.  She told her story of survival.  Ronald Day had a similar story.  Just 7 at the time, he was on bus #16.  Many students who were on that bus were killed when the tornado hit.

During the memorial service, the Belvidere Fire and Police Chiefs read the names of the 24 people who lost their lives that day.  A ceremonial ringing of the bell by the fire department, one time for each life lost, also took  place.

Despite the tragedy that day, people at today's event gathered to share stories of heroism and courage.  Many met at the tornado memorial that sits outside Belvidere High School.  Flowers and photos adorn the monument.  The memorial ceremony continued at the Boone County Museum of History.

Ronald Day shares his story of that fateful day
Connie Harris tells her story of survival










95 year old Eugene Kleindl spent some time with Belvidere High School's U.S. History class on April 20, 2017.  Kleindl shared his first hand experience of World War II.

Kleindl entered the Army in 1942 and served in Europe. His first experience with war was on Utah Beach during the Invasion of Normandy and was in combat for more than 300 days.  Kleindl was soon fighting through the French bocage country, carrying both American and German wounded from the battlefield to nearby aid stations. He was able to save a colonel who had been hit by machine gun fire, and he was later awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery. As part of Patton’s Third Army, Kleindl crossed France into Belgium, where he was part of the Battle of the Bulge that December. 

Kleindl now spends his time traveling to local classrooms to talk about his life on the battlefield.

Congratulations to senior Madison Gibbons on breaking two Belvidere High School Softball Records this season.


On April 8th senior pitcher Madison Gibbons broke the school record for most strikeouts in a single game. The record was set at 16 strikeouts by Lori Olson back in 1983. Last Saturday, Madison threw 17 strikeouts in the first game against Sycamore High School. In addition to holding the single game strikeout record, Madison now holds The Belvidere High School Softball Career Strikeout Record with 324 and counting. The record was last set by Jill Lacke back in 1990-92 with 323 strikeouts.

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Belvidere, IL 61008


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