6 months after deadly EF4 tornado, Henryville continues to rebuild

HENRYVILLE, IN (WAVE)- It was a devastating tornado we will never forget. Six months have passed since that EF4 tornado tore through Henryville and our region. Sunday, the community and area paused to remember. At the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, in Henryville, bells tolled 6 times as a large group of people gathered during a moment of silence.

Each bell toll was to remember each month that has passed since the deadly storm. Vicki Horine, of Henryville, vividly remembers March 2. She rode out the storm in a closet inside Henryville Elementary School.

"We saw it coming right across the back of the school. I would say at that point, I was a little more scared than what I wanted to be. But, we made it in just in time as the windows literally blew out of the building," she said.

What she and so many others saw during and after the storm are burned into memory. "We began just hugging and consoling each other," she said.

Now 6 months later in Henryville, much has changed.

"The best way I would describe it is a sense of thanksgiving at this point," Father Steve Schaftlein, head priest at St. Xavier.

There is a feeling and atmosphere of hope, healing and rebuilding in and around the town.

"That we have survived to this point. We have begun to revive at this point. In many instances, we're thriving such as the high school now," Fr. Schaftlein said as he pointed to the newly finished and re-opened Henryville Jr/Sr. High School.

Horine's parents home was heavily damaged. Now, it is being rebuilt.

"The whole town is healing by watching that rebuild, as we are with each other," she said.

The community came together at a free picnic to say 'thank you' and to remember.

"You realize that we are connected together. We're all part of the same human family and what we do does matter and we can make a difference for others," Fr. Schaftlein said.

Horine spoke about the people who make up the community and who endured the storms right along with her.

"It's those people and it's people at that church and that church at the school, at the gas station who are there everyday to give you a high-five to give you a hug, to smile at you and encourage each other," she said as she pointed to the people and various churches around her.

As the community and region band together on the long road of recovery and healing.

As the clean up continues, Father Schaftlein told WAVE 3 he doesn't think Henryville will ever be the same. In fact, he said he hopes Henryville will be even better.

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