Tornado victim continues to battle injury from storm - News, Weather & Sports

Tornado victim continues to battle injury from storm

Will Callahan Will Callahan
Donna Kaelin Donna Kaelin

PEKIN, IN (WAVE) - Those in charge of the disaster relief fund from the Lady Antebellum Rebuilding Henryville concert says a check from the band is expected in the next week or two. More than $285,000 will be handed out to victims of the March 2 tornado, but to get that money, victims have to fill out an application first. So far, officials say only about 15 have been turned in, but that doesn't mean help is not needed.

Take Will Callahan as an example. "I can wiggle them just a little bit. Not too much," he explains while trying to move the toes on his right leg. Focusing on the small steps, like bending that leg, "I can't straighten it all the way out. That's about like that that's as far as I can get it like that," is about the only thing getting Callahan and his fiancee Donna Kaelin through what seems to be a never ending struggle.

"I don't think ahead too far because of the seriousness of his leg. I take one day at a time now," says Kaelin. Both are determined and have been from the beginning to save Will's leg and to make sure at some point he can walk again. "It'd probably be a year before I'm able to get around halfway," explains Callahan.

On March 2, Callahan made sure Kaelin, her four grandkids and the rest of her family were safe under a table in the basement when they heard the EF-4 tornado was coming. "I was going to get myself someplace, but ya know, it happened so quick. It was just over about as fast as it come up," says Callahan. When he looked up the house was gone. His right leg was crushed. "Her two grandkids carried me across the road and I laid over there four and a half hours." That wait for a helicopter was only the beginning.

Callahan's been through 11 surgeries since and with nearly each one Kaelin says, "I had to hire people to take me back and forth to Louisville." It was only a couple weeks ago, through a generous donation, the couple was finally able to replace their car that was destroyed. Callahan's been in two nursing homes. The week of May 20 was his first back home. Though it's a step in the right direction, Donna says due to a paperwork glitch, "He doesn't have any insurance right now as we speak."

The bills are coming in fast. "I got one for $136,800 from U of L. I got one for $6,000 and something from Meadowview or Extended Care. Whoever owns them," says Kaelin. A cost they don't know how they'll cover, but since they have each other and Callahan has his leg, they know they can find the strength to keep surviving.

If you or someone you know is interested in filling out an application for assistance from the Rebuilding Henryville Disaster Relief Fund, click here.

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