My hometown needs your help

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.

18 comments

  1. Done. I too am a midwesterner from a west-side suburb of Cleveland. My mother and brother now live outside Cincinnati.

    1. Thank you John. That means a lot.

  2. Gravesgerri24 · ·

    Done, Jeff!

  3. Done. 

    1. Udaman, thanks Chris.

  4. Gkinser · ·

    Clay and I are taking a car load of clothes and canned goods to a drop off point today. Your post brought tears.I wrote a paper today for class and also mentioned the infamous “Henryville elbow”!  I will go help with cleanup when they start to let us in.

    1. Glad to hear it, sis. Let us know how we can help more. Also, keep up the updates after you get in town.

  5. Pete Leddy · ·

    Done, Jeff

    1. Very thoughtful Pete. Does this mean I have to start listening to emo music?

  6. Rick Waters · ·

    A great job son!!!!!!!!!!   I am so proud of you.  I helped too.  I Love you.  Dad

  7. MGraves · ·

    Great article, bro.  Donation to follow. 

    1. Thanks Mike. Definitely will make a difference.

  8. I looked for videos on YouTube about Henryville…found one that traced Henryville-Otisco Rd from Henryville to past Mt Moriah Church (which is gone–Col. Sanders old church).  The houses across the street from the house on the hill are gone.  The house down the hill from us (the man with the hook) is pretty much gone.  In fact…all the houses along the road, as far as the video went.  I don’t know about the farm.  Heard that H&B is OK..  If I knew how to post the video, I would, but I haven’t learned that!

    1. Yep, I saw that. Just awful.

  9. Jon Coulter · ·

    Jeff, 

    I hope all is well at MSC. My heart goes out to your community. We were hit again in AL again with this round of tornadoes.  Friday morning the storm touched down on the back side of our neighborhood in Athens AL and 20 people lost their homes.  I watched helpless from my porch as the tornado ripped through homes 1/8 of a mile away from me. Over 200 homes in total lost in Alabama but we were very lucky that nobody lost their lives this time. This is less than a year after the devastating storms of April 2011 did billions of dollars worth of damage here. Let’s all pray that this is not the sign of things to come. 

    1. Oh wow, Jon. Glad you and yours are safe. I grew up with constant tornado watches and warnings, but we never really took them too seriously. At most, I remember driving around to see some trees knocked down in the aftermath. Never actually saw a tornado myself. This has been devastating.