Community steps up to help elderly woman with tree removal

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – An East St. Louis woman has been sitting in her house without power since Monday when storms rolled through the area.

Aremelder Woolens, 75, says she doesn’t have insurance to remove a huge tree that fell on the home so the utility company could fix the power lines. Woolens made a plea to the community for help.

Late Friday afternoon, her prayers were answered.

“I am so grateful for them to come out today and do the work that they are doing," Woolens said.

Woolens thought it would take months to find a way to remove the tree. She feared her home might be burglarized if she left her home but said she’s lucky to be alive.

"The wind was blowing real hard for two or three seconds the house was shaking and the tree fell on the house; it was scary," Woolens said.

Ameren Illinois told Woolens the tree had to be removed in order to restore her electricity.

On Friday, the East St. Louis Fire Department and two tree cutting companies—Bonnie and Clyde Contracting and Big Brown Beaver Tree Service—felt a need to lend a helping hand.

"It's very important to help the residents especially being a first responder. We are here for the community and want the community to be here for us," said East St. Louis Fire Chief Jason Blackmon.

Woolens was overwhelmed with joy.

"I thank God for it and it makes me feel real good that people care," she said.

Despite the heavy rain Friday afternoon, crews worked to remove the tree and clean Woolens’ backyard. Ameren Illinois hopes to have to power restored within the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Woolens still needs help to repair the hole in the roof of her home. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.