News and Tribune

February 27, 2014

HUNTER: It’s been two years

Tornadoes in 2012 put things in perspective

BY PERRY HUNTER
Guest columnist

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Well, here we are. Just a couple days away from the two-year anniversary of the EF-4 tornado that roared through Southern Indiana and changed lives permanently.

Where do I start?

It is still overwhelming when I think back about the outreach and giving that so many did, for not only the Henryville community, but also in Pekin, Borden, New Washington and all places in between that the tornado affected.

Though the aftermath isn’t in the news anymore, there are still people dealing with the consequences. Whether it is still dealing with the insurance companies, receiving money that was donated to your school — or the psychological issues — there are still those dealing daily with the tornado.

Some think we should just “get over it,” and I do agree to some point, but people are different. There isn’t a cookie-cutter way to “get over it.”

It does get better though. It does.

Your life might not always be the way it was before the storm, but it does get better.

I remember when I went to Indonesia right after the tornado on a mission trip with Athletes in Action. The pastor on the trip and I were speaking and he said, “You do know, it will get better.”

Those words shocked me because I thought the anxiety, panic and depression were my new life. It never entered my mind that it would get better. And it has.

I still have people who reach out and thank me for the articles I wrote after the tornado, and how I have been open about the anxiety and the issues I have dealt with.

Anything good about me comes from my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So if you think I am doing good things, look to him because I believe he has the answers.

If you think I am doing bad, well, I accept full responsibility — that’s on me.

There are people who regularly realize that they need help — yes, even two years later because everyone deals with something like this differently — and are taking steps forward to get better.

I see what happened that day as a blessing. I realize that many do not and may never. They lost their homes, their physical mobility, their innocence, their loved ones or even their lives.

But we got to see so much of the good in people, and unfortunately, some of the not so good.

Things we would have never seen without this experience. We got to see that there are things in this life greater than us, yet we can make the biggest difference in one life by listening and understanding.

We lost the innocence of belief that you can go to a school hallway or your basement and everything will be fine when a tornado hits. We have learned where to go and what to do like never before and have shared that info with others.

So many lessons learned — so many.

What would I do differently?

I would slow down that day and remember what happened better.

Would I change going through what I have the last two years?

My answer is “no.”

What happened that day has made me a better person — I’m sure you can argue that point — and has gotten me to where I am today. Though I forget too often, and pretty much knew before this storm, I now fully comprehend what matters in life.

People.

And how you treat them.

Period.

Perry Hunter is a Henryville High School graduate, a teacher and former boys’ basketball coach at Henryville and a current assistant coach for the Silver Creek boys’ basketball team.