Tinley Park, Illinois Sends Aid to Sister City in Budingen, Germany After Tragic Flood
The news post below was written by Columbia Chicago College student, Jordan Perkins! Read the story below.
A Sister City’s Kindness is Remembered in the Aftermath of a Flood
After a devastating flood in Budingen, Germany, their sister city of Tinley Park, Illinois, remembered the help they received in their time of need and decided to send aid to the city of Budingen. Budingen and Tinley Park have maintained a sister-city relationship for more than 30 years and have partaken in many customs over the years that strengthened their bond. With the damage done to the city of Budingen, the Sister Cities Commission, along with the assistance of the Village of Tinley Park, have been raising funds for them ever since news broke about the flood.
“We just want to help out no matter what,” said David Niemeyer, Tinley Park Village Manager, who is also heading the fundraising efforts.
Sieglinde Huxorn-Engler, who is the Chair of Budingen’s Sister Cities Society and a resident of one of the villages in the town, says that while she hasn’t suffered any personal property damage from the flood, it has deeply affected the businesses, where she frequented in the area, and the town parliament building, where she is a member.
“A lot of people have lost their means of existence,” she said when speaking of the business owners and other residents of Budingen.
As a member of the parliament, Huxorn-Engler has been working with other parliamentarians to build an effective flood retention system.
Roxane Tyssen, Secretary of the Commission, recalled when Budingen and Tinley Park commemorated their 30th anniversary in December of 2019. Members of the commission traveled to Budingen for the occasion and called it “a nice meeting of cultures and people.” In her 10 years working in the Sister Cities Commission, Tyssen has helped foster the relationship between the two cities. Tyssen said that with citizen donations and a donation from the village, they were able to raise $10,000 in aid to send to Budingen.
Even aside from the Sister Cities program, Tinley has always had a heart for helping those in need, even when they come from miles away. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Tinley Park housed 100 displaced people in the Tinley Park Mental Health Center. Budingen also helped during this time and donated $10,000 to the Village, which was then used to give everyone affected by Katrina spending money. Nearly 16 years later, Tinley Park was able to return the favor by helping Budingen when the town flooded.
Diplomacy plays a big part in a sister city relationship, and Jina Shim, the Communications and Programs Coordinator of Sister Cities International, stressed how important diplomatic work is in maintaining a good rapport between sister cities.
“It’s not just about a good relationship,” Shim said, “it’s about being there when someone needs you there.”
For Tyssen, however, friendship was at the core of their diplomatic work.
“This relationship is more than just a sister city, these are our friends,” Tyssen said.