BY AMANDA ARNOLD
The recent Lady Antebellum fundraising concert for Henryville made national headlines, but other nearby areas affected by the March 2 tornadoes have organized their own fundraising events. The Rebuild Marysville 2012 fundraising event on Saturday had three bands, a barbecue, family activities and T-shirts for sale to raise money for Marysville Community Center. A crowd of about 1,000 people was expected at House of Refuge in Nabb.
Shortly after the tornadoes, Marysville resident Charlotte Kleckner and her mother began thinking about ways to help their town. Kleckner’s mother suggested selling T-shirts, and they decided the Marysville Community Center would be the best place to donate the money they would raise.
Because the Marysville Community Center once served as an elementary school with a frog as the mascot, “The Frogs” were used on the shirts.
“We put ‘The Frogs’ on the shirts so the elders would get that,” Kleckner said. “I was told that they always wanted to make the T-shirts, but didn’t get the chance.”
After sending out emails and creating a Facebook page for the idea, the word got out and the people of Louisville’s ValueMarket contacted Kleckner about catering the event.
“When the tornado happened, we gathered donations at our stores [in Louisville] and delivered stuff in Henryville,” said David York, store manager, ValueMarket. “Once everyone had supplies, I had money left over from the donations.”
York used the donated funds to pay for food he prepared for the fundraiser, “so they could have this and rebuild.”
Kirsty Travelstead of Marysville explained that as of Saturday morning, more than 300 T-shirts had been sold. For the event they had hopes of raising at least $5,000 from the T-shirts, food sales and the grill raffle.
“We are more specific to Marysville, and in particular the Community Center, which was an icon of Marysville, and the building is condemned now. This money will go directly to that,” Travelstead said.
While Travelstead’s house suffered minimum damage, many of her friends lost their homes, and she worries they may not stay in Marysville.
“Some do not want to move back because of the damage, but maybe if we rebuild the Community Center they will,” Travelstead said.
Marysville resident Dale Fulkerson admitted to having little time to rest because all of his time is spent working or rebuilding a lost house. However, he wants to stay.
“I try to keep a positive attitude about everything. I’m here, and that’s positive. If everything works out, I want to rebuild there. My house has been in my family for three generations, and there is a lot of history and memories there,” said Fulkerson, who grew up in the house with his grandma.
Heather Walter also wants to stay in Marysville.
“We need to get our stuff together. It’s a slow go, but I can see progress. I feel joy, and you can’t describe the feelings when you see a new home, or foundation poured for a new house,” said Walter, whose house had damage but it “wasn’t enough to keep us down.”
Groups from across the country continue to reach out to the affected areas in Southern Indiana, and likely will for awhile.
“This isn’t done or over by any means,” Walter said.
Pastor Reggie Tucker of House of Refuge in Nabb said morale remains low for the community.
“They went through a devastating event, and now are seeing the clean up. It’s difficult, and now everyone is wondering when it will get rebuilt. Some insurance companies are slow, and some people are not being treated right,” Tucker said.
The House of Refuge is open to storm victims and volunteers every day, with an average of 25 people getting fed. While it has slowed down, Saturdays are busy with 75 to 100 people. Tucker hopes there will be more volunteer groups in the summer. In order to accommodate the volunteers, the House of Refuge will serve three meals a day and house 30 volunteers from various organizations across the country.
“It’s really nice to meet all of the people who have come to help, and we are so grateful. We are so appreciative that they are giving their time to come here and rebuild,” said Dianna Tucker, Reggie Tucker’s wife.
There will be more fundraising efforts throughout the summer. Check out Rebuild Marysville 2012 on Facebook for more information specific to Marysville.