Amy Horn

Photographer

holton indiana tornado aftermath // southeastern indiana photographer

I couldn’t work hard enough, fast enough or long enough today. I feel like I just ate three elephants. That’s what I kept telling myself today. Remember that saying? “Anyone can eat an elephant. Just take it one bite at a time.” That’s what I thought every shovel full of debris that I loaded into a wheel barrel. I woke up this morning and had such a desire to just go and help. Anyone, really. I knew I didn’t want to use my time helping documenting what was going on. There’s enough of that. I didn’t even pack my camera with me, actually. The few snaps I took, I captured on my iPhone after I was finished working for the day.

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

I drove toward Holton, Indiana and tried to get to the volunteer check in location in the middle of the town, however, state police blocked the road into the town until power could be restored. I tried to re-route through a backroad and drop down into the town, but roads were closed there to. During my reroute, I found a small area of about six homes that were severely damaged (or non-existent) and asked if I could help. I started at one home finding salvagables and sorting things into “will burn” and “won’t burn” piles. This home belonged to an elderly couple who sought refuge in the basement. The house was demolished with only a few walls left. (You hear weathermen telling you to get to the middle of your home? That’s the only part left standing of this one.) The basement was in great shape with very little debris in there. They were dug out by a neighbor a short while after the tornado hit and are doing great. We cleaned, sorted, moved walls to find belongings and them put a done stamp on the home.

Here’s the first house I worked on:

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

This car was in the garage, which used to sit on the very right of this photo.

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

Salvage piles.

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

 

After helping stack logs from cut trees, I walked back to a “house” that I didn’t even know existed. There was really nothing left. I kept my composure as I spoke with Bambi and Steve, the homeowners, about where they’d like me to help. Steve is also a son of the elderly couple from the first home I worked at. A lot of this family was around – children, grandchildren, cousins, friends, etc. Steve and Bambi were actually in Northern Kentucky at their business when the tornado hit. If they’d have been home, they would have been killed. These photos show everything that was left. They have no idea where their furniture went. Bed? nope. The washer and dryer, furnace and hot water heater were the only appliances left. Their bedroom mattress was left in the middle of the home’s foundation floor. Nothing else. I searched for documents, photos, momentos and anything else that could be salvaged for more than an hour before starting a clean up effort on the debris. My amazing facebook page fan, Lauren, also came out with three more sets of helping hands, a snow shovel (<- this was a life saver!) and a box of garbage bags. I also want to give a huge thanks to Versailles Baptist Church for bringing out totes of sandwiches, homemade cookies, water, gatorade, soda, chips…. they arrived in a van with the food and just started handing it out. A Dillsboro family made 50 sandwiches in their kitchen and portioned out chips and brought little debbie snacks down to us. A mom and her 10ish year old son came walking down the lane with a cooler and asked if she could feed us. Just her. She and her son made up all the sandwiches and just started driving out to places where volunteers worked to give out the food. People can be so amazing.

Here is the second house I worked on today:

This is the “before” i started working on it

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

This was taken as I was leaving for the day:

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

 

My cup is running over with how kind we really can be to one another. I gave and received hugs, tears and sentiments today. I never even made it to the volunteer center. I plan to head back out tomorrow with glove (and a snow shovel!) and see where else I can go.

Here are other photos from the area that I volunteered today:

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

This is a RV camper that was at the demolished house. In this roof. This was about 1/4 mile from its starting point.

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

 

Here’s me when I got back into my car. I’m exhausted (and sans makeup, so be nice). Back story is below, if you’re still reading 🙂

amy horn photography holten indiana tornado

 

Back story on today’s volunteer time: I tried to head down to Henryville, Indiana (a really hard-hit area) to lend a hand, but after talking to the Indiana State Police dispatch in Versailles, decided against it as the officer said some volunteers had been turned away by the National Guard. Then I called Jefferson County Indiana Sheriff dispatch and was told that any volunteer headed out to Chelsea, Indiana (another really hard hit area) would also be turned away. I politely added my name to the “volunteer call list” to be called if the Incident Commander needed more help. After this, I spoke to ISP again in regards to helping in Holton, and got a location to report to for volunteer opportunities. I decided not to stay in my home area of Trimble County after having little results calling for volunteer opportunities. I did know that Milton Fire Station #2 had been annihilated. I drove by it yesterday and snapped a couple of images. I also knew by my facebook feed that they had plenty of back up today for cleanup. I was unable to get any other answers of areas hit and in need of volunteers, so I layered up on my clothes, tied up some boots and packed a few pair of gloves and headed to Holton.

For those of you who don’t know, my home in Dillsboro is directly east of the little town of Holton. I was blessed that not a single weather incident was reported in my entire county, according to the Dearborn County dispatcher.

For anyone interested in how I spent the storm, here it is: I weathered the storm down with my parents in Milton. I had taken the day off to spend with my mother and just happened to be here for the day relaxing and helping around the house. As the day developed, my friends over at Weatherpulse (If you don’t know who these guys are, head over to Facebook and GIVE THEM LOVE. I seriously credit them for my safety. More on that in a moment.) We were all relaxing at the house when I heard the sirens in Trimble County. They were so faint, I had to ask if they were real or in my head? I had the Louisville weather stations on and nothing was mentioned. I logged on to Facebook to the Weatherpulse page and read there was a tornado warning in TC and to take cover. We rallied the storm in the basement for several hours and stayed glued to www.livestream.com/weatherpulse for all of our updates. The local radio station wasn’t coming in and there’s no TV in the basement. However, I could stream Christopher Phillips and his team for all of us to hear. We had giant hail, no wind, crazy wind, green skies and tons of rain. It was cra’y. I credit Facebook friends and Weatherpulse for keeping me informed and calm. I seriously love you all.

One Response to “holton indiana tornado aftermath // southeastern indiana photographer”

  1. terri baker says:

    i would like to say thank you for helping so much today on my parents house (bambi & steve) you guys were AMAZING! you help so so much and we appreciate it so so much! Thank you!

Leave a Reply