Henryville marks tornado anniversary tomorrow
The town of Henryville is preparing for a solemn anniversary Saturday - the one-year anniversary of the deadly tornado that hit the southern Indiana community, destroying homes, businesses and the town's elementary and high schools.
There is still a lot to do, but the progress they've made in the past year is remarkable. St. Francis Xavier is one of the few buildings that really survived the storm, when it turned into the volunteer center and food distribution center immediately after the EF-4 tornado ripped through this town.
The most memorable image of the storm was probably the school bus pushed into a small café. The driver had just gotten all of the children off that bus and into a building when it was picked up by the 175-mile-per-hour winds and slammed into the restaurant.
Surveillance video from inside showed how fortunate everyone was to be off of that bus. A total of 14 people were killed in this area as a result of the storm. But Saturday, they'll be celebrating life.
"We're coming back," said Henryville Elementary Principal Glenn Riggs. "We're being healed. We're being restored. We're all one family in terms of human beings, but also logistically within our community. So, I think it will be a positive time to touch on it, to leave it behind, and to move forward."
And moving forward they've been doing almost since the day after the tornado hit. A $100-million rebuilding effort has taken place. Hundreds - maybe thousands - of volunteers have worked in Henryville and surrounding towns, some have stayed.
To mark the one year anniversary, they'll be having a parade that will march down Ferguson Street, then a ceremony at the high school. A parade may seem unusual, but like every story of the past year in Henryville, they are celebrating all of the good that has come out of a bad situation.