Henryville sees signs of hope after deadly tornadoes
Country band Lady Antebellum will do its part Wednesday night to help a southern Indiana town ravaged by tornadoes. The free concert in Louisville will raise money for the tornado relief effort.
Students at Henryville High School won the concert because of what they lost. But Eyewitness News traveled to Henryville to see what they've gained since the deadly March 2nd twisters.
Two and half months since tornadoes nearly destroyed the town of Henryville, devastation has given way to hope.
The road to recovery is now showing major signs of progress from schools to homes to survivors' spirits.
"If they didn't think they had a good neighbor, they found out in this they do have a good neighbor," said storm contractor Cricket Jamison, who's helping friends in Henryville rebuild.
The same fencing he put up for them 17 years ago fell victim to the storm.
"It was all up nice and it simply tore it all to pieces," Jamison said.
So he's back at it, like many here, putting property and lives back together.
"To me it's really coming together from what it was," Jamison said. "A lot of progress."
Kevin Bridges' mom had three homes damaged by the tornadoes.
Some of the structures didn't make it.
His mom is still living in a motel, planning to finally move into her renovated home in Henryville soon.
Kevin says many families have left or are still struggling to rebuild.
"A lot of people don't know what to do with their houses yet because they have structural people come and look at it and then I guess the insurance says, 'we don't really wanna do that' and so they're still in limbo," he explained.
Perhaps the most notable sign of recovery is at Henryville High School.
Torn apart in the storm, it's now a constant construction zone with obvious improvements.
In fact, this afternoon, a tour bus carrying Lady Antebellum came to check out the progress. The band will host a mini-prom for Henryville students tonight and their concert will raise money to rebuild the town.
Michelle Compher and her mom plan to attend.
"I think it's something really really special to help the community kind of just shows how people can come together," Compher said.
The concert will also help protect families in the future.
A raffle at the show will give one Lady A fan a free, concrete storm shelter that's been tested and approved by the National Storm Shelter Association.
Seven other shelters will be distributed to survivors through Habitat for Humanity.
"What are you going to do if you don't have a plan? So now's the time to plan. And when you're rebuilding that's the easiest time to put something like that in place," said Mike Vaughn, NSSA President. "We're wanting to make sure people know there are methods and means for protecting their families."
Battered, but not broken, Henryville is improving in the months following the storm.
Although neighbors say it will never be the same, they're all working hard to heal the community.
Indiana Homeland Security says that FEMA has approved about $1.5 million in assistance so far for tornado victims.
Lady Antebellum has already raised about $120,000 online for Henryville.
Tonight's concert will bring in even more.