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March 2012 tornado coverage

March 3, 2013

‘We should be gone’ — Former Henryville residents talk about being sucked up in March 2 twister

(Continued)

JEFFERSONVILLE —

“There is only one reason we survived this ... He is the reason,” Michael said. “We should be gone.”

From looking at the area where the mobile home once stood, it’s amazing that anyone survived. All that was left were pieces of debris scattered throughout the landscape. One of Michael’s shirts is still in a nearby tree. Some of his tools were salvaged, but that is about it.

For several hours following the storm, the word going around Henryville was that Michael had been killed. That is what friends and family members believed when they converged on the Montgomery property.

One of Freda’s pill bottles was found in Madison while her business cards were scattered as far as Burlington, Ky. Michael’s workman’s compensation check was located in Versailles, Ind., and mailed back to him weeks later.

 

THE AFTERMATH

Up until a few weeks ago, Freda shied away from talking about the tornado. Even though her story would rival any best-selling novel or movie, she didn’t want to speak about the experience. Freda and Michael lived across the street from Stephanie Decker, the mother who lost part of both legs while shielding her children from the twister.

While many know her neighbor’s story, Freda has remained quiet until now.

“It was just too fresh. I couldn’t talk about it,” she said. “March is a traumatic month for me. My father died in March [2011] and then the tornado was in March. It was too much.”

She said therapy has helped her cope with the dreams and fear. After a tornado warning was issued for the area this winter, she barricaded herself in the bathtub and admits being a bit freaked out.

“The exact moment I wake up from a bad dream, my therapist has told me to get up, write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away. Through that process I have been able to cope,” she said.

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