Henryville tornado survivors to pay it forward, will soon head to Oklahoma

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Graduation at Henryville High School is two weeks away.  After that celebration, the school’s principal is headed into the devastation.  He’s heading to Moore, Okla., a little more than a year after a tornado devastated Henryville.

It is a disaster that opened old wounds.

“You saw those people who were walking, looking for their loved ones, or their pets,” said Henryville Principal Troy Albert.  “They looked very dazed and confused and I remember those feelings, those exact same feelings.”

After seeing what happened in Moore, Okla., Albert did not hesitate.  He quickly decided he is going where the tornado hit.

“Maybe it will be a big thing and maybe it will be little thing, but it is something we feel we have to do to make a difference,” said Albert.

The Indiana town of Henryville knows what the people of Oklahoma are going through, because they have been there.

“It is more than just, ‘Oh, those poor people,’ we know,” said preacher Toby Jenkins.  “We remember what it was like to walk out and having everything in disarray and destruction.”

The First Baptist Church in Henryville took in supplies after the tornado hit on March 2, 2012.  Now, it is the church looking for a way to give.

“It causes us to long to help, to be there for those people and to pray for them,” said Jenkins.

Some in Henryville have rebuilt, others are just getting started.  Still, those whose lives are back to normal are anxious to help others, the same way they were helped.

“I have still got a few final little touches here and there, but most everyone is back into their homes,” said Henryville resident Mark Schnider.

Schnider saw volunteers roll into town, and roll up their sleeves.  The act of kindness was so moving, he plans to pick up his hammer and head to Oklahoma.

“It is a pay it forward type thing,” said Schnider.  “We know what they are going through first-hand, so it is one of those things we know what needs to be done and what we can do to help.”

Albert, Jenkins and Schnider said they will wait a couple of weeks before they actually make the trip to Moore, Okla.  Right now, the Department of Homeland Security is still assessing the damage before the cleanup phase can begin.