ORANGE - A teacher from Orange who hails from Illinois says she's heartbroken her hometown was one of the hardest hit by the tornados in the Midwest. 

Mindy Walwer was born and raised in Washington, Ill. before moving to Orange to teach in 2001.

The music teacher at Amity Middle School tells News 12 Connecticut that she had no idea a tornado touched down in her hometown until a family member called. She says the next few hours were frightening as she tried to find out if her parents survived.

Walwer says she couldn't believe a tornado ripped through her hometown, injuring more than 100 people. Her parents were spared, but her childhood home was only three blocks away from the devastation.

She's extremely grateful her family is OK but realizes there are still so many suffering.

Walwer says she is going home to Washington for Christmas this year, but admits it will be a different holiday and says she can't wait to help in the recovery efforts.