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October 30, 2013

‘You just pick up and go on’: Life after the 2012 storms

Quadruple amputee regains her independence after March 2012 tornadoes

JEFFERSONVILLE — She survived the Henryville tornado with little more than a scratch, but the aftermath of the storm cost her all of her limbs and nearly took her life.

Louella Aker, 66, and a former Henryville resident, gave a tour of her new home with her dog Truman following closely behind. Aker recently moved into the Aberdeen Woods home after enduring a year spent in a coma, physical rehabilitation and an assisted living facility.

Aberdeen Woods is a 20-unit affordable housing community developed by New Hope Services Inc., in Jeffersonville, mostly geared toward seniors. Aker recently moved in to the home which, with assistance from March2Recovery, has been modified to accommodate her.

Moving into the new home has given Aker — a quadruple amputee — back her independence after she had been given a 10 percent chance to live.

MARCH 2, 2012

Originally from Clarksville, Aker had lived in Henryville for 22 years when tornadoes tore through the northern part of Clark County on March 2, 2012.

The single mother raised her five now-grown children in the community, but in March 2012 her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were still living with her.

Aker — who was an assistant manager at the Family Dollar in Henryville that was within walking distance to her home — was scheduled to work in the afternoon that day. She heard the early reports of the severe weather and as the day passed, the family kept gathering on the porch to see what was headed toward the small town.

“I kept telling my son-in-law and my daughter, it’s going to be nothing,” Aker said. “I said, ‘it’s going to blow over to Salem.’ They always blow over to Salem.”

As it got closer to the time when Aker was supposed to go to work, she said for some reason she didn’t get ready.

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Judy Lunsford works on a lesson plan for her students with fellow teachers, Ellen Rothstein and Adam Stephens, in her classroom at Northaven Elementary in Jeffersonville Wednesday afternoon. Lunsford, a new addition to Northaven, will be teaching second grade.

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