HENRYVILLE – Residents of a southern Indiana town bundled up against the cold for a snowy parade Saturday to celebrate their community’s survival one year after deadly tornadoes ripped through the countryside.
Hundreds of people turned out for the parade and a commemoration ceremony in the gym at Henryville Junior-Senior High School, part of a complex rebuilt after it was largely demolished by 175 mph winds.
The tornadoes of March 2, 2012, killed 14 people across southern Indiana and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.
Saturday’s events marked another step toward healing for many residents.
Christina Troncin, who had cowered in the basement of her home with her two teenage daughters a year ago, was reflective while watching children wave flags as floats made from truck-drawn trailers passed along the parade route. One of the flags brandished was a new Henryville flag that was designed after the storm.
It’s a day to realize we could have died a year ago, Troncin told WTHR-TV.
Lindsey Nierman told the News and Tribune that although rebuilding efforts are bringing the town back to normal, there are still obvious reminders of the disaster.
It’s still sad, Nierman said. You still look at the hillside and the treetops, and it still makes you want to tear up with what happened. You see slowly the rebuilding of the community. You see a little progress each day as you drive through town, but there’s still a ways to go.
Gov. Mike Pence praised the rebuilding efforts during the gathering in the high school gymnasium.
This community found a way through those agonizing moments and every day since, he said.
Many residents have lived in temporary quarters while their homes were rebuilt, while others have moved into new homes, WISH-TV reported.
We’re not going to be beaten down, still here, said Henryville resident Jerry Guthrie.