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Valparaiso freshman Alec Peters hails from storm-battered Washington, IL

Nov 20, 2013, 12:45 PM EST

The devastating storms that struck the Midwest this weekend hit a little to close to home for Alec Peters.

A freshman that’s averaging 11 points and a team-high seven boards for Valparaiso this season is from Washington, IL, the town where the late-November tornadoes turned 500 houses into rubble and killed one person. A total of eight people perished as the storms moved through the midwest.

Peters was lucky. His family made it through the storm, alive and without significant property damage, but a number of his friends were not as fortunate.

Paul Oren of the Northwest Indiana Times has the story:

Peters was just finishing his post-game shower following Sunday’s 76-72 loss to Ohio when assistant coach Roger Powell told him the news.

“My emotions are still running high from the loss and Coach Powell comes up to me with this look and I know something is immediately wrong,” Peters said. “We got my mom on the phone and I found out my family is fine, but plenty of my friends were affected.

“I just broke down. I didn’t know what else to think or what to do.”

Peters spent the entire six-hour bus trip back from Athens on the phone trying to track down the whereabouts of friends and family. While he doesn’t know anyone who died in the tornado, each report of a different damaged house was like a punch to the gut.

It’s worth the click to read the story.

Peters returned to the team on Tuesday morning and will play in their next game against Evansville.