Indiana communities unite in tornado aftermath

Julie Sickel

One moment it was a town, and then suddenly it wasn’t anymore.

Sure, Marysville, Ind. still has a church and a post office and even a hardware store, but the houses that once comprised the southern Indiana town have been blown into Ohio and Kentucky. Residents have been left with nothing more than a few muddy belongings and cement foundations where homes once stood.

About 15 minutes west, the larger city of Henryville illustrated the destructive force a tornado can have in an area concentrated with infrastructure. Three-story homes became ground-level wood heaps and a school bus became a battering ram into the belly of a downtown restaurant.

But even while the smell of damp wood and mud hung in the air and dazed citizens gingerly picked up single articles of clothing piece by piece, there was a distinct feeling of community in both Marysville and Henryville.

In Marysville, citizens came together to clear homes of whole trees and other debris while emergency services made camp at the hardware store and post office.

In Henryville, the public information officer for the Clark County Sheriff Department roamed the streets telling stories of survival and instructing citizens and media personnel alike to head to the church for a hot meal off the grills established in the parking lot.

Echoing the sentiment of the pastor at the destroyed Mt. Moriah Church on the outer limits of Henryville, the buildings are gone, but the communities in the battered areas remain.