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March 3, 2013

The Giving Spirit: Marysville residents, others remember the man who was ‘everywhere at once’

MARYSVILLE — There was just something special about Andy Helton. After the March 2, 2012, tornadoes ripped through Southern Indiana, the Marysville native never hesitated to help the people of his community in any way possible. 

Family and friends have fond memories of the man riding his white scooter around the devastated area to provide supplies to those in need, so much so that they swore he was everywhere at once. Yet he never expected a thank you. That was Andy’s way.

While delivering some paperwork in mid-May, Andy was forced off the road by a passing car, wrecking his moped in the ditch. He sustained severe injuries to his leg which required hospitalization and several surgeries. Two weeks later, for reasons unknown, Andy died in his bed. He was only 47 years old. 

“Andy is what kept this place going. It’s like he did what he was supposed to do. Then he was gone,” Marysville resident Lisa Clapp said. “He was a Godsend.” 

Now, a makeshift memorial to the man many considered such a blessing stands beside the remnants of a tangled semi door. Both the snarled metal inscribed with a biblical passage and the monument to Andy serve as a reminder of that fateful March day and the good and bad things that ensued from it. 

At first look, some people might not have figured Andy as the hero type. When he was younger, friends nicknamed him Alan Jackson — after the country superstar — for his long hair. His mother Pat Helton said he always has worn his hair past his shoulders. Even after it was cut, it seemed to always return to that one length.  

“Andy just didn’t seem like the guy you’d first pick out to organize and take care of everything. We’re quick to judge people sometimes by first glance,” recovery volunteer and Scottsburg Mayor Bill Graham said. “He wasn’t the person in charge, but he was the person that had it all figured out.”

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