Reagan Reaction

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

Ronald Reagan never forgot his roots and his birth town, Tampico, Illinois will never forget him.

"He was someone to be proud of," said longtime resident Amy McElhiney.

Tampico's identity and President Ronald Reagan are synonymous. The town of 600 boosts the apartment where Reagan was born, the Dutch Diner, the Ronald Reagan Park and the president's passing brings a stream of visitors to Tampico.

"We've visited many of the president's homes. But this one is right in Illinois, who grew up in our area. That makes it special," said Tampico visitor Verna Kintzel.

"It certainly has generated a lot of interest. We've had lots of people. I think everyone is curious about his life here," said McElhiney who gives tours at Reagan's birthplace.

Mr. Reagan and his family left Tampico decades ago, but he never forgot his humble beginnings, returning to Tampico during his first term as president and walking these streets most recently in 1992.

Reagan and his wife Nancy visited his boyhood church for a Mother's Day service ministered by Clarke Devore.

"It was quite an experience of course that few people have. I had a chance to talk with him personally," said Devore.

For residents of Tampico, President Reagan is a reminder that anything is possible. Despite a rough childhood, Ronald Reagan made his hometown proud; from Hollywood to Washington, all over the world.


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