It is surreal to see reporting from my hometown on both the Rhode Island and national news. Henryville is a tiny dot on the map, about 20 miles north of Louisville, KY. I’m sure there are people in other parts of Indiana who had never heard of it… until now.
I grew up in Henryville. It was a classic example of small town America with only 1 stoplight (a blinker) and no fast food restaurants or hotels. The people were kind hearted, hard working patriots. The phrase “Hoosier hospitality” may as well have been coined in Henryville. My mom came up with another term I always loved about the place: “The Henryville elbow.” Basically it means that there are no strangers in Henryville. As you drive around, people are constantly waving at each other… showing their elbows.
The television footage is devastating. Though I’ve been living in New England for a long time, it’s now clear to me that this place is where all my memories live. The school where I cried for my mamma on the first day of kindergarten. The school where I somehow scored my career 4 points on the JV basketball team. The same school where I dreamed of the future me while wearing a cap and gown. It’s gone.
Maybe it’s too soon to assess and report- but I look at this devastation and have to think lives were lost. I am praying that’s not the case. What we do know, however, is that these good people are in for a tough struggle. Long after the news crews leave, houses will have to be rebuilt, businesses will have to make tough financial decisions, and kids will be shuttled far and wide for an education.
Take a look at the image above (taken by an old classmate of mine, Jay Caudill) and imagine this was your reality. These people need your help. And they need it now.
Please donate whatever you can to the American Red Cross today:
Call 1-800-RED CROSS
Go to http://www.redcross.org
Text “REDCROSS” to 90999. A $10 donation will be charged to your phone bill.