Sunday brings renewed thankfulness for storm victims

Parishioners leave a Henryville church Sunday morning.

The residents of Henryville woke up Sunday, perhaps more grateful than they've ever been to pick up the pieces left by Friday's tornadoes.

Parishioners left St. Francis Church feeling more thankful and grateful than most Sundays.

"I know my friends here are fine and that makes me very, very, very grateful," said Phil D'Angelo.

Friday, two tornadoes, one right behind the other, laid waste to much of Henryville. Residents are only now beginning to realize the magnitude of their losses. Many of them are Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden's life-long friends and neighbors.

"We've talked to people that said they're thankful they have rubble. They're thankful that they have something to go through, because some people don't have anything, it's just wiped totally off of the map," Rodden said.

Emergency workers have been so busy searching for victims and helping survivors, there hasn't been time yet to add up all the damages. The National Guard flew U.S. Senators Richard Lugar and Dan Coats over the tornadoes' destructive path Sunday.

It was a startling site.

"The force of nature here are unbelievable," said Lugar (R-Indiana).

"My first reaction was, 'I don't know why more a lot more lives were not lost'," said Coats (R-Indiana).

Coats pledged federal help, with FEMA officials expected to arrive this week, but residents aren't waiting. The devastation and the losses are literally coming home to people coming home, or what is left of home, to salvage what they can.

"Just memories that they can't replace, you know what I mean? Brush off the debris and mud and stuff so they have their pictures back," said one man, working in the debris.

The scenes of recovery are getting national attention and generous offers of help.

"New Orleans. I've gotten calls from New York, Chicago, all over the place that want to come and help," said Rodden. "It's unbelievable."

Officials are holding back the expected tidal wave of help until utility crews can repair power and gas lines, clearing the way for a massive clean-up and recovery effort.