In the first few hours after the tornado hit Washington on Nov. 17, Jacob Colgan and his friends lent a hand and some muscle to help.
But Colgan, of Washington, wanted to do more.
In the first few hours after the tornado hit Washington on Nov. 17, Jacob Colgan and his friends lent a hand and some muscle to help. But Colgan, of Washington, wanted to do more. “That day I saw plumbers grabbing wrenches and shutting off gas valves and people were doing what they do best and they were doing it in the middle of the crisis,” Colgan said. After helping all day long, he came home and got a shower. “I felt fairly helpless,” he said. “After getting cleaned up, I knew one thing, I just wanted to help.” “We stepped back and thought, ‘What can we do?’” Colgan said. The answer came natural enough to Colgan, a producer at Green Shoe Studios in East Peoria. “What we know best is music and videos.” Green Shoe Studio quickly got to work and produced “Our Anthem (American Made).” It’s easy to say that it is a three-minute song and a video that pays tribute to those who lost everything Nov. 17. But for Colgan and the more than 25,000 people who have already watched the video on Youtube.com and Vimeo, it is a message. “It’s hope,” Colgan said. “We are hoping it uplifts these people, the people who are stronger than an EF-4 tornado. Hope brings it all home.” Comments on Youtube reacting to the song include several like this: “What a beautiful song and tribute to the town and people of Washington Ill.! Makes me very proud to live so close to this community!” Another commenter said, “Verrrryy touching song and video. God Bless you, your family, and your whole community. You can get thru this together!!” Colgan said the song is also personal. “It was written for my sister who lost everything,” he said. His sister, Bobbie, had an apartment at Georgetown Apartments, which was heavily damaged by the tornado. The words to the song came quickly to Colgan, who wrote the song in about 10 minutes, he said. Colgan, who has traveled to other countries, said he was inspired by how different the American attitude is from other national attitudes. “When we get torn down, we rebuild and we come back quicker and stronger than before,” Colgan said. Using phrases such as “We are built Ford tough and we are Chevy rough,” Colgan said he wanted to convey not only the American spirit but he wanted to show a sense of pride and a sense of community that Washington has. It was tough at first for Colgan and the team from Green Shoe Studio when they started filming. “It’s a little odd to ask someone to stop sifting through their home and hold a sign for us,” Colgan said. “But as we explained what we were doing, they were very nice about it.” Colgan said he also hopes the video will encourage others to donate to the city’s tornado relief fund. “Using a video to raise awareness about the fund is another way we can help,” Colgan added. The video was premiered to a local audience Nov. 27 during U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock’s luncheon at Five Points Washington for tornado victims and volunteers. Colgan, who was in the audience with his sister and her family, said the video seemed to be well-received. “It was tough to see people cry but it was moving,” he said. “It also makes a good impression of Washington.” It addition to the “Our Anthem (American Made)” video available on YouTube, the single is available on iTunes.