Tsunami hits NIU worker hard

The strongest tsunami since 1964 washed upon the shores of Sri Lanka and Indonesia Dec. 26, 2004, killing at least 175,000 people. The earthquake causing the disaster measured 9.0 on the Richter scale.

The NIU community was closely affected by the tragedy, as some students had family and friends in the disaster areas.

Lensi Tweed, a Blackhawk Food Court server, lost more than 100 friends and family members in the disaster. After collecting more than $10,000 in donations from various organizations, friends, family and DeKalb residents, Tweed visited Banda Aceh for six weeks, distributing the money to more than 350 families to build shelter.

In addition to all the monetary donations, Tweed said a very generous physics professor and his wife, who wished to remain anonymous, donated an all expense-paid, round-trip ticket to Indonesia for her to visit her family. Some of Tweed’s other customers also donated a few hundred dollars toward long distance phone calls to her family, she said.

During the past months, several campus organizations have held tsunami relief benefits to fundraise for the cause.