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
Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.