Oklahoma twister brings back painful memories for Henryville survivors

Karen Albert talks to her class about tornadoes.
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The Henryville community has come a long way since a powerful tornado struck in March 2012. At the elementary school, there are obvious signs of rebuilding after it took a direct hit. But what happened in Moore, Oklahoma prompted many of the staff, teachers and students in Henryville to go right back to that day in March of last year.

"What happens when a cold front and a warm front come together? We have rotation," said Karen Albert, a seventh grade science teacher. She knows it's important to begin her class by talking about what her students are thinking about most.

Albert asked her class questions to compare the Henryville tornado with the Moore, Oklahoma twister.

"How wide was our tornado?"

"Half a mile."

"How wide was their tornado?"

"As wide as two miles."

An EF-4 tornado changed the Henryville community, destroying homes and schools. Fourteen people lost their lives.

Nurse Tracy Guernsey says when her students recall what happened that day or see another community deal with a tornado, many end up in her office with a stomach ache.

"They say they aren't scared but I know better. I know their history. Maybe I know they lost their house in the tornado," said Guersney.

"We do understand what they are going through," said Principal Troy Albert, Henryville High School.

Troy Albert and his wife Karen have decided to head out to Moore, Oklahoma in two weeks to help their fellow educators.

"We feel obligated to go out and see what we can do personally. Help make any corrections that we made as mistakes in our rebuilding process maybe help them in their process as they rebuild for their future," said Albert.

The love and support from across the country helped Henryville and these Hoosiers plan to pay it forward.

"You guys have a gift of just understanding someone," said Karen Albert. "You can share your experience in a note or a letter. And let them know, it's going to be all right. We're back in our school."

The Alberts will collect those letters and spare change from the students to bring out west to Moore, Oklahoma. The couple will leave the day after graduation and several students have already asked to tag along.