SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. — A Vietnam War-era Huey helicopter presided for years over the parking lot of the VFW hall on the south side of Sullivan, Indiana.
One man said it was a landmark he looked for driving into town.
Today, heavy equipment operators plucked the damaged chopper out of the trees just north of the hall which was exploded by a tornado Friday night.
Eight square blocks of Sullivan’s southside were obliterated by the twister.
Standing at the intersection of Court and Illinois Streets, no matter which way you turn, there is destruction all around.
A mile to the east, all that is left is the foundation of the modular home where Shane Goodman, 47, died during the storm.
Goodman’s two vehicles are in a field across the street.
No one knows where his house went.
”I just know they were important to a lot of people in this community and it’s very difficult even if you didn’t know somebody very close when you know they were part of your community, but they were friends and families to others it makes it more difficult,” said Dena Hollifield, a church volunteer feeding crews repairing downed electrical lines who also knew Goodman’s wife.
Sullivan County Coroner Joe Coffman confirmed that 61-year-old Susan Horton and her son Thomas Horton, 38, also died when a tornado and storms rolled through the area late Friday evening.
Five Hoosiers lost their lives as a result of the tornado, including a husband and wife in a McCormick State Park campsite in Owen County.
The Sullivan Civic Center is accepting supplies and coordinating the assignment of volunteers flooding the town with chainsaws and equipment.
Mayor Clint Lamb said Sullivan doesn’t have the warehouse space needed to store all the donations that have flooded in.
”We no longer need supplies and perishable foods at this time,” he said. “So many people are giving and wanting to bring in and I don’t want to sound unappreciative, but my gosh, we have truckloads and truckloads that have already come in, and truckloads that are continuing to come in. The Civic Center is already full with goods and supplies.”
Lamb indicated he would be speaking with FEMA officials and the White House Sunday afternoon to seek emergency disaster relief.
The mayor said the Sullivan Community Foundation is accepting donations to make cash disbursements to residents who have lost everything while the state is providing 30-day housing vouchers for displaced persons.