Metro Louisville United Way coordinator Tonya Schweitzer registers volunteers Jerry Douglas, left, and Chris Mills for cleanup work in Henryville, Ind.

Photo by C.E. Branham/News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind.
Herald Staff Report

Efforts to launch a cleanup operation in the small Indiana community that was devastated by an EF-4 tornado last Friday, were temporarily set back by a overnight snowstorm.

About four inches of snow covered the landscape that was torn apart by winds that may have reached more than 160 miles per hour.

The snow covered roads and left it slippery and dangerous for townspeople to begin the process of checking their damaged homes or cleaning up a huge mess that was left following the storm.

In all 13 Indiana residents and 39 over a five-state area died.

Further disappointment was shared across the region when Kosair’s Children Hospital in nearby Louisville, Ky., said that the 15-month-old "miracle survivor" died Sunday when she was she taken off life support.

The 15-month old-girl, Angel Babcock, had been scooped up by the tornado and dropped in a nearby Indiana field, where she was found and taken to a hospital. Her parents and two siblings where killed by the storm’s fury.

The child’s grandmother and other relatives made the hard decision when medical staff said their was nothing more they could do.

Warmer weather and clearer skies are predicted by mid-week and a small army of volunteers is mobilizing to help Henryville and other areas begin rebuilding their lives.

Joe Tolan, chief executive officer of the Metro United Way in Louisville, said hundreds of “able-bodied” people are needed for a wide range of physical tasks, from picking up debris scattered across miles of countryside to burying dead animals that were victims of the storms.

“The challenge now is getting that volunteer spirit organized,” said Tolan. “We’ve had an outpouring of people who want to help.”

Tolan said there is a need for people with specific building and construction skills, but also for people who can do the simple but strenuous work of picking up trash.

“You just need to be an able-bodied person capable of doing physical labor,” Tolan said.

Henryville students, who would have been on a two-hour delay Monday morning because of the snow if it hadn’t been for the tornado, are scheduled to return to school next week when alternative classroom plans are developed.


Details for this story were provided by the News and Tribune and CNHI Indiana Capital reporter Maureen Hayden.

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