I have written often about the devastating EF-4 tornadoes that mercilessly struck southern Indiana on March 2, 2012, leaving behind a swath of death and destruction. Thousands of lives were changed forever more.
While the storm struck many small communities, Henryville, with a population of 1,905, became the proxy for all of those communities, partly due to its relatively large size compared to neighboring towns, and partly due to the destruction of Henryville High School.
This past Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the tornadoes. The affected communities have come a long way in the recovery, but still have a long way to go. Community leaders, many from The New Washington State Bank (NWSB), have worked tirelessly on the recovery. The bank, which has a branch in Henryville that was significantly damaged in the storm, purchased the adjacent lot of a home that was destroyed and converted it to a park-like setting. Now outfitted with a bench and a flagpole, later to be surrounded by flowers, the lot is intended to be a place of peace and reflection. On Saturday, it was the centerpiece of a new flag dedication.
The New Washington State Bank commissioned Adam Kleinert of Hatch Design to design a first-ever flag of Henryville. NWSB President and CEO Pat Glotzbach orchestrated the flag dedication, and he extended to me the privilege of joining with NWSB board chair Betty Carver, herself a victim of the storm, in the raising of the new flag. It truly was an honor.
NWSB employees who joined Pat Glotzbach in addressing the crowd and the media included Greg Sherrard, Pat Daily and Jay Stephens. At the event, I, too, had the opportunity to praise the community for what it has accomplished in the past year and for demonstrating how people of greatness define community.
The flag dedication ceremony was followed by a parade, in which several IBA staff and family members participated. Marching directly behind us were numerous NWSB employees, proudly displaying the bank’s banner.
Later that afternoon, a community commemoration service was held at Henryville High School. Betty Carver and Gov. Mike Pence both addressed the crowd that packed the gymnasium at the beautifully rebuilt school.
There are hundreds of stories associated with the past year in Henryville. IBA was proud to have played a small part in the community’s commemoration of recovery from this tragedy.