Widow of Henryville tornado victim rebuilds home - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Widow of Henryville tornado victim rebuilds home

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Wayne Hunter died while protecting his wife, Lenora, in the March tornado. Wayne Hunter died while protecting his wife, Lenora, in the March tornado.
Lenora is rebuilding her home on the same land as her house that was destroyed. Lenora is rebuilding her home on the same land as her house that was destroyed.
HENRYVILLE -

Nearly four months after tornadoes destroyed much of Henryville, one survivor just broke ground on a new home.

Lenora Hunter lost her husband of 41 years to the storm. Now, she is starting to rebuild her life, on the same spot where she started.

Each shovel of dirt represents a new beginning for Hunter - a new home on storm-ravaged soil.

"It's a bittersweet day, isn't it?" Eyewitness News reporter Jennie Runevitch asked.

"Yes it is. Yes it is," Lenora responded. "My son says that I look different when I'm on the property than when I wasn't. He thinks I look more at peace when I'm here."

Crews just broke ground on the very spot where the Hunters' old home was destroyed by tornadoes.

"Yeah, it's the same spot. I mean that's where we lived," Lenora said.

It's also where her husband, Wayne, lost his life. That day, they captured on camera the tornado that would tear through, seconds later.

"It's coming right toward Henryville. It's coming here. It's picking up. Look, you can see stuff rotate," Lenora said on the video.

"Looks like it's heading right toward us," Wayne said.

"Yep, maybe we should get away from the window," Lenora responded.

Huddled in a hallway, the couple said 'I love you' and held each other as it hit. Wayne died protecting his wife.

"Well, he'll always be with me. And I've told lots of people that he's the only one and...this is our home," Lenora said tearfully.

That's why moving back to this land wasn't a difficult decision. Despite the tragedy, Lenora says her memories are here in Henryville.

"He's gonna be everywhere," she said. "You know, this is where he said his mushrooms are. This is where his ginseng patch was. So yeah, he'll always be here. Always."

The new house will be different. She's including a garage instead of a carport, and is not rebuilding outbuildings on the property. But the biggest change is adding a basement.

"My kids would not even listen to me unless I had a basement or a safe room. I'll feel safer going down into a basement, I think, the next time if I see one coming," Lenora explained.

And although she'll now have a house for one, Lenora knows she'll never be alone.

"You look around and you're going to see him everywhere," she said.

Construction crews told Lenora they'd be finished with the build in the next three to four months. She just hopes to be in her home by the anniversary of the tornadoes in March.

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