Easter Sunday brings renewed hope for Henryville residents


Five weeks after tornadoes ravaged the community of Henryville, Easter Sunday was filled with music and praise. The holiday that marks hope, renewal and new life for Christians was felt even more profoundly this year.

"This town may never be back the way it was, it'll be better," said Pastor Rick Cheek with Henryville Community Church. "We're turning that corner today and looking at the next few weeks and the next two years of rebuilding."

More than 200 people gathered to hear Cheek's Easter Sunday sermon at Henryville Community Church.

"Everybody's hopeful. They're just looking at the good in it and not what they've lost. They're just happy to be here and to help out everybody else," added Meradith Eickholtz as she left church with her family.

One couple leaving the church said they came to Henryville three weeks ago from Miami just to help.

"We saw on the news of the devastation here and God pretty much told us that we needed to come up and help and do what we could, so that's what we did," explained Michael Dandiea.

"It's getting better and better and its going to grow again," added Robert Sherrill, hopeful about the work he'd seen taking place in his community.

Once the celebration ended, church clothes were traded in for work clothes. There's still plenty of rebuilding that needs to be done in Henryville and it didn't take a break for Easter.

"It don't stop and there's plenty of help around," Sherrill said of the work ahead.

"You see all this destruction and everything, all this change, but you see a chance to start over. You see a chance to rebuild and get better," Corey Smothers said.

"But really, it's never about the project. It's always been about people and people are being changed," said Cheek.

"It's picking up the pieces and moving on," said JJ Smith.

That's what people have done in Henryville since early March. They've been changed, but not broken. They've been picking up the pieces around them and making something new of their homes and their lives.