Quincy Alderman adopts Joplin survivors

Quincy's 6th Ward Alderman Jim Musolino dropping off donations to his adopted family in Joplin / KHQA's Melissa Shriver

The Joplin tornado has affected thousands of people in the city.

But it also prompted compassion and fund drives all over the Midwest and right here in the Tri-States.

In fact your generosity helped us here at KHQA raise more than 23 thousand dollars and a trailer full of donations.

As KHQA's Melissa Shriver shows you in this special report ... one Quincy family is making it their mission to adopt two families in need.

"I had about a minute to get my kids in the bathroom with pillows and everything. I just started praying to God. I was talking to that man like he was right here in front of me. Then all of a sudden the windows started busting out," said Sarah Watts.

"My husband was against the bathroom door and was holding it shut because it sounded like something was trying to come in."

"At that point in time we heard the roof start ripping off. I told the babies all we could do was pray to God because that was the only thing that could get us out of this right now."

"At that I thought this was it."

But Watts says God spared her family that day. And when they came out of the tub, their world was changed forever. They were some of the lucky ones. Twenty two people died on their block alone ... including some of her children's playmates.

But just when she didn't know which way to turn, Quincy's 6th Ward Alderman Jim Musolino showed up.

"I was feeling lost," said Watts. "He was like an angel that came over and picked me up and told me it was going to be okay and it has ever since he came."

Musolino had been in town to help with the clean-up ... but when he saw Watts something moved him. "I think it was the good Lord who tapped me on the shoulder and said "adopt these people."

Musolino adopted Watt's neighbor next door ... and that's when things turned around for these families.

Musolino began collecting clothing, food, toys and diapers from folks here in Quincy and then ...

"Thanks to KHQA they put it out over the news what we were doing and the phone calls started pouring in."It all came from the generosity of Quincy and I was just the delivery boy."

And that generosity extended past the original families and on to the Joplin community.

"People would say I need this can I have it? I would say don't ask just take it. That's what it's here for. They would ask where it came from I would say the city of Quincy. They would ask where that is and I said Illinois and they were like all the way from Illinois? Many families are so grateful to him and the city of Quincy for the gifts and not just the gifts but the love. That's what we need to know that people care that this happened to our little town.

"All your prayers mean something. The little toys they mean something. They've put a smile on a baby's face and right now that's what these kids need. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts and God bless every single one of you."

Every time the Musolino truck pulls up ... there is something to share, even if it's a hug.

"I told him that all I want is his friendship for the rest of my life."

Watts and Musolino agree, it's a bond they'll have for a lifetime. A bond that stretches from the devastated city ... to the heart of the Tri-States.

Musolino says he's going to continue to collect things for folks still recovering in Joplin. Money and gift cards are desperately needed.

If you'd like to donate, call him at 217-653-6084. You can also send donations to 1225 South 18th, Quincy, Ill. 62301.