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Rebuilding in Henryville Continues, One Year Later
Updated May 5, 2013 12:13 AM
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(HENRYVILLE) - Saturday marks one year since deadly tornadoes hit southern Indiana. The community of Henryville has been rebuilding since then.

Teresa Mackin of WISH TV8 reports that dozens of homes were damaged and destroyed in the March 2012 tornado, and while some families have moved into newly rebuilt homes, others have moved to new homes entirely.

Still others are in the process of building.

Much of John and Jackie Dietrich's family lived near them on 160 in Henryville; their family owned four homes in the path of the tornado. All were destroyed.

"We had four houses lined up here, east to west," said John. His parents lived in one, his sister in another, and his daughter and son-in-law in yet another.

John Dietrich and his wife Jackie stand looking out from the back of what will be their new porch, of their new home. They've chosen to rebuild their home on the same plot of land.

John describes the terrifying day of March 2, 2012. He was home with his two youngest sons when the tornado hit. They went to the basement, and part of it caved in around them. They were able to get out, and John ran to check on his parents. Then came the hail.

"The part that I remember, is I was running with Johnny, and he kept saying, 'Ow, it hurts.' I said, 'We gotta run, we gotta run.'"

They got to cover just in time.

What they didn't know at the time, is their son-in-law, an Indiana State Trooper, had also stopped home next door. He was trapped in his basement, but managed to make it out to the road to find help.

Jackie wasn't home at the time of the tornado, and spent hours trying to find her family.

"You can't put that into words, but being able to find your family. And then you find them," Jackie explained the relief at finding her family with cuts and bruises, but alive.

"This is just sticks and bricks. It's family that matters. It could have been a lot worse," she added.

The Dietrich's, and John's mother, have chosen to rebuild on the family land.

"There is their home. This is their community. It's very important to get back here. I can understand why some people can't do that. Nothing is the same. The landscape has changed so much. But the people haven't."

And so they go on, like many others, this time, the Dietrich's will have a concrete bunker in the basement, and they say, a renewed sense of what's important.

They're hoping to finish the building process in the next couple months or so.

"It reminds you now of what you have. You've got to focus on the positive. It makes you hug your family a lot," said Jackie. "You just have to focus on going forward. It's just home."

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