SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — There are many stories of survival and hope to come out of the heart of Sullivan, within those stories are families searching for the little things that feel like home.
Bill Pirtle, a resident of the city of Sullivan and many of his family members were out sorting through his brother’s belonging salvaging what they could. Among those belongings was a large collection of baseball cards that he said his brother has been collecting for over fifty years.
“He’s been collecting them since he was 12 years old. That house over here, it was completely full,” Pirtle said.
Pirtle said some of those cards were pretty valuable. His brother had been diagnosed with ALS and is currently in hospice care. He said it was difficult telling his brother about what had happened. He couldn’t bare to show him a picture of the state of his collection.
“We’ve been trying to save all the stuff we can. It just breaks my heart. I’d hate to even talk to him about it,” Pirtle said.
Just a few doors up the road an American flag was flying over what’s left of Val Reed’s home. She shared her story of riding out the storm in her basement.
“I didn’t hear a freight train sound like everybody says, it was more like a huge monster growling,” Reed said. A moaning, groaning growling, things breaking. You could hear glass; I heard water running. And then just as soon as it hit, it was gone, and everything got quiet,” Reed added.
Reed and her husband, Joseph, members of their family and volunteers worked to located anything salvageable from their property.
While speaking with Reed, her son brought over a hospital bracelet. It brought a smile to Val’s face, and she recalled it was the bracelet from when her daughter was born.
And then her husband approached with news.
“A gentleman from down the street, he saw me on top of this pile, that used to be a house, and he said that he prayed to the Lord to show him what he can do for somebody. He said he wants to put a building up. Totally for nothing,” Joseph Reed said.
On Tuesday, the Reed’s were being blessed with new construction. A metal garage in place of their old garage. A gesture of kindness after a dark storm. A place they could store their belongings.
“The Lord helped us, and he keeps helping,” Joseph Reed said.
“It’s material stuff, you can redo that. But the lives are what was most important, so, we’re thankful for that,” Pirtle said.
Baseball cards. A hospital bracelet. Salvaging little things that feel like home.