News and Tribune

Clark County

March 3, 2013

A place of hope: Despite damage, St. Francis provided hope, services to those in need

HENRYVILLE — Friday, March 2, 2012, was no different than most days during Lent at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Henryville. Tom Nolot and a handful of other volunteers were preparing for the weekly fish fry in the basement of the church at about 3 p.m.

But in a matter of seconds, March 2 would become like no other in the history of the small Clark County town. Mother Nature saw to that.

As Nolot went outside after weather  warnings were issued, he noticed a dark wall of clouds heading toward the town. He ran back inside and along with the other volunteers, “hunkered” down behind a wall until the storm passed. In a matter of seconds, the tornado and large hail that followed changed hundreds of lives and the landscape of Henryville forever.

But despite leveling structures and crippling others like the nearby school, St. Francis was left standing, though the church suffered major damage. The roof’s trusses were snapped and nearly caved through the ceiling. In total, the church received about $250,000 in damages, which have since been repaired.

“It sounded like an explosion,” Nolot said of the tornado which passed through. “We heard a boom in the kitchen and the door was blown off. A large deep-freezer near the door was moved across the kitchen floor.”

Once the tornado left and the hail stopped falling, cars parked in the church lot sat demolished and the scene outside resembled a war zone — or worse.

“My wife looked out the kitchen door toward the school and said ‘everything is gone,’” Nolot said. “There was so much destruction.”

 

RECEIVING THE CALL

St. Francis Rev. Steve Schaftlein, who is also the priest at St. Michael’s in Charlestown, was in Charlestown preparing for a Friday fish fry there when the storm hit. He had heard the reports about the possibility of severe weather that day, but wasn’t too concerned.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

LOCAL STATISTICS
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.