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Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2012, 7:12 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 16 May 2012, 7:12 PM EDT
HENRYVILLE, Ind. (WISH) - Before country band Lady Antebellum arrived in Louisville for a special concert Wednesday to raise money for the town of Henryville, they visited the town to see the damage first-hand.
Tornados flattened the small community on March 2. Since then, scores of volunteers have helped with the cleanup efforts.
"It’s really changed a lot, and it’s taking a long time to get back to normal," said Henryville resident Melissa Bagshaw. "We’ve had so many volunteers, and that helps a lot. It kind of helps you feel secure. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have had anything cleaned up."
Homes that were destroyed by the tornado have been cleaned up and cleared away. One block in town now consists of several empty lots where houses once stood.
"The goal is to get everybody back in a house, and even if they were in a modular home before, the goal is to get everyone back into a house," said Fire Chief Mark Furnish.
He said the small town has come a long way since the tornados hit. FEMA is working with faith-based groups to begin building homes for those who had no insurance.
"It’s just been humbling how all these groups have been coming in, and all they want to do is help and pray with you, and give you a hug. That’s been the best thing out of the whole thing," Furnish said.
Residents said the pain, the loss, the devastation, have brought them closer together.
"I know more people now than I did before. People come over and help if you need help, see if there’s anything you can do ... . It’s changed us, I think, for the better," Bagshaw said.
Lady Antebellum band members toured the damaged high school Wednesday afternoon.
The band's concert in Louisville will help raise money for Henryville disaster relief. The sold-out benefit included an online fund drive. Online donations have topped $119,000.