Henryville faces exhausting task of rebuilding after tornado


After nearly two weeks of tornado recovery in Henryville, exhaustion is beginning to set in for survivors and volunteers.

It's been a non-stop effort for everyone involved, including Kevin Bridges, whose mother had three homes damaged in the severe storm.

Kevin Bridges' childhood home now has a much different view.

"This used to be a nice neighborhood - a lot of trees, a lot of mature trees. You couldn't see over the hill, but now you can see everything," Bridges explained.

The new view includes things he'd rather not see: his hometown in ruins.

Since tornadoes damaged three of his mother Helen Bridges' houses in Henryville, Kevin has been working non-stop.

He's spent 12 days, all day, tearing down what he used to keep up for his mom.

"Yeah, sun-up to sundown, you know," Bridges said.

And like many people in Henryville, after nearly two weeks of clearing debris, Kevin says he's simply exhausted.

He's drained physically and emotionally from the scope of it all.

"I'm used to the work, but it's pretty bad," Bridges said. "You catch yourself, you know, here and there but you know you gotta keep going."

He hasn't been doing it alone. Volunteers, he says, have been his saving grace. They've come to Henryville not just from Indiana, but from all over.

"There's a guy from New York. I had a guy come here yesterday from Pennsylvania. He was a logger. And I had people from Iowa, Georgia," Bridges said.

Richard Dingman came down to help from Shelbyville.

His son owns an excavating business.

"We've been here since Tuesday and we plan to stay until Saturday night. These people need our help," Dingman said.

The 74-year-old Dingman said he is tired too, but also invigorated by the progress being made in the community.

"Well we're just tickled to death we got the equipment. We can come down here and do it," Dingman said.

"It reassures you, you know. There's good people out there," Bridges said of the volunteers.

He says he's thankful for the good people helping survivors now growing weary of this work. all trying to fix what's been broken.

"We've got to keep going," Bridges said. "Gotta get back to normal I guess, or as much normal as you can."

There's still a lot more to do to get the area back to normal.

The state says as of Tuesday night, more than 1,500 people had already registered for assistance at recovery centers set up in southern Indiana.

The best way the Red Cross says you can help isn't through manpower, but with money.

Red Cross donations