Relief for tornado victims comes from afar


Help for victims of Friday's tornadoes in southern Indiana is coming from many places, including out of state.

Just 30 miles up the road from where Bob Williams lives in Louisville, his neighbors to the north, the people of Henryville, are hurting.

"When you hear about 1,900 people an entire city gone, you just have to jump in and help. You just can't sit around," said Williams.

Thousands, like Williams, have seen the devastation in this southern Indiana town and have come with busy hands and servants' hearts.

"It's overwhelming. It really is. In a situation like this is when you find out how truly good people really are," said Valerie Kavanaugh, who was collecting donations inside St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

People came from Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Volunteers, who've brought food, clothing and construction equipment.

"It's a God send," said Kavanaugh.

Volunteers, like Williams, who've brought themselves and anything they could think of, trying to help the people of Henryville start to rebuild their lives.

"If I can keep someone warm tonight or give them food or take care of a child and give them cookies, whatever it takes, this is what we need to do for our people," said Williams of his purpose for coming.

Laura Williams of Bedford knows what the people are going through.

"In 2009, March the 8th, we lost our home by a tornado. An F-3 tornado hit," she said.

It seems like just yesterday, she said, that her family lost everything, too.

"It just brought back a lot of tears and emotion that I kind of held inside," Williams said, looking at the devastation and the people from Henryville, still in shock over their loss.

It's emotion Williams is using for good.

"You just pay it forward when you see something like this. You come and you do what you can," she adds.

Now Williams is helping people who are hurting like she once was.

"It's what we're supposed to do is serve people and if we can't serve the people in need, then we're in sad shape," says Jim Gore, also from Bedford.

That's why Gore and others from Bedford First Church of God have brought an outdoor barbecue and hundreds of pounds of food.

"There's a lot of times that people from the church don't get a chance to get out there with a chainsaw, but they can feed those who get out there with a chainsaw," Gore explains.

Gore and Williams are just some of the thousands who've come to Henryville this weekend, looking for some way to help.

"I brought blankets, water, food, clothing, jackets, even paper bags, because as people take things to their homes, they need something to carry it in," said Bob Williams.

"I think this really shows how many good people really that there are left," Valerie Kavanaugh added.

Kavanaugh is from Henryville and is helping collect donations of food, clothing and money at the local Catholic church for residents who've lost everything.

People from all over are bringing that kind of help too. People Laura Williams found out existed when her family lost everything three years ago.

"Just hands-on, that's what you need, hands-on help," said Williams.

Only this time, Williams is the one doing the reaching.

"People really care about each other," she added.

She's now giving the compassion once given to her.

WTHR Cares: Hoosier Tornado Relief