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March 2012 tornado coverage

March 3, 2013

A place of hope: Despite damage, St. Francis provided hope, services to those in need



“We were serving 5,000 to 10,000 meals a day on this corner,” Nolot said. “Another thing that amazes me is the [Duke] substation across the street was ruined and most of the town was without power. They had it back up and running in less than a week and I have been told that kind of job would take three months normally.”

A March2Recovery office opened in a remodeled home next to St. Francis to assist residents. The office is still open, but the demand for help has diminished. Following the storm, there were 2,000 homes that were damaged or destroyed in and around Henryville. 



There were no such thing as Catholics, Methodists, Protestants or Baptists in Henryville following the tornado, Schaftlein said. The invisible walls some put up in front of them were ripped away by the storm. The entire community came together and worked as one.

“Most people plowed right on through it together,” Schaftlein said. “It brought the whole community together. I think when something like this happens, you put everything aside and grow closer together.”

He added that what helped inspire townspeople was watching the work being done at the school, which was basically rebuilt in five months. He said every day since has been different, as work continues to rebuild the town. But there is still a lot that needs to be done, and there are still signs of how fresh the wounds are scattered throughout the town with damaged structures and trees that were toppled.

“This has been an amazing experience ... the response of so many and the goodness of people that was evident,” Schaftlein said. “But we have to remember we are halfway through this. There are still 100 to 200 families out there who are displaced or need help. We have to stay the course through the end.”

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