By BRADEN LAMMERS
CLARK COUNTY — Nearly one year ago on March 2, countless lives in Clark County changed forever.
Unfortunately, homes were destroyed, lives were lost and people were injured. But following the tornadoes, there was an outpouring of support from the community wanting to help their neighbors, friends and those in need.
This weekend a number of events are planned for the residents of Northern Clark County and Pekin in remembrance of the deadly EF-4 tornado that swept through Northern Clark County on March 2. Gov. Mike Pence is scheduled to attend a ceremony in Henryville, according to an email from his office.
The commemoration acknowledges and honors the progress made over the past 12 months for the scores of residents who have rebuilt their lives and their community, as well as the volunteers who helped make it happen.
“I think any time you have an anniversary of a loss, it’s an important date people want to forget [while] others want to remember and celebrate,” said Carolyn King, executive director of March2Recovery.
She explained that those who have been involved in the recovery efforts and those who were affected by the tornadoes wanted to make opportunities available to those would like to have a ceremonial remembrance.
However, King agreed that there are others that are still greatly affected by the trauma of the storms.
“Some people want to leave town and not think about it,” she said.
But King added it’s also a way to thank all the people that helped in the recovery effort.
“Just the idea that this community survived in spite of all of this ... it’s not just for the survivors, it’s also for the helpers,” she said.
The concept for the parade to commemorate the tornadoes came from a Henryville resident.
A BIG IDEA
Trish Gilles, who was injured in the storm, said it was her son Caleb, 12, who came up with the idea to hold a parade in town.
She said that her family was talking about the anniversary and what they should do when her son suggested a parade because “he didn’t want people to forget.”
But for most that went through the tornadoes, forgetting would be an impossible task.
“It seems like it just happened to us,” Gilles said. “There’s really not a closure to it for us.”
She added that it wasn’t so much for the residents to remember, but for those who helped in the community and those who were brought to the attention of Henryville, Marysville and Otisco because of the storm.
“You can’t drive through there and not think about it,” she said of Henryville.
On Saturday, Gilles isn’t quite sure what to expect.
“I know its definitely going to be a reflection day,” she said.
But again she added there was a bigger purpose for recognizing the anniversary of the tornadoes.
“Making sure we honored that day ...is [more] a celebration that our community has gotten so much stronger; it can literally go through anything,” she said.
The events scheduled for Saturday will be held rain or shine. While the events are designed to remember those who went through the tornadoes, and thank those that helped in its wake, there is still help that is needed.
King said the only things keeping work from being done are that skilled volunteers are still needed, and the winter weather.
Visit march2recovery.org to find out how you can help.