WABASH VALLEY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — It’s been one month since a tornado touched down in in the Wabash Valley causing mass destruction.
On Friday, March 31st an EF-3 tornado touched down causing a path of destruction through Crawford County, Illinois before making its way into Sullivan County, Indiana and then to Owen County. Winds reached up to 165 miles per hour and traveled on the ground for several miles.
The twister killed three people in Crawford County, three people in Sullivan County and two people in Owen County.
“We are one month out from the tornado. Our hearts and prayers and thoughts are always with those victims, the ones that lost loved ones, had damage to their properties, or just any way shape or form are suffering from that tornado,” JD Wilson, Director of Public Works for the City of Sullivan said. “The whole community’s been hit,” he added.
Both counties have made progress in cleaning up the debris as well as what’s left of the personal belongings of those impacted.
After a month, many families are still waiting. Zach Warnick, resident of Sullivan, said they are doing about the same as they were a month ago.
“We live in a hotel, I live in Terre Haute, the rest of them (his family) live in Vincennes. So, we’re just trying to get by,” he said. “We’re waiting for insurance. We’re waiting on them so we can start rebuilding. That’s the main part, is what we’re going to get, what we’re not going to get to rebuild,” he added.
While the debris is hauled away, while downed trees and limbs are burned, Crawford County Board Chairman, Bill Burke, says they are also waiting.
“As of right now, we have still not received any state or federal help,” Burke said. “Our state officials are waiting to hear what we can find out from our federal. Federal agencies, I know we had some people here again last week looking, but at this time we have not received any state or federal help and at this time all the money that’s been spent has been on the taxpayers of Crawford County, we’ve been funding what we can for now, waiting to see what assistance we can get from either the state or the federal government,” he added.
Sullivan County Emergency Management Director, Jim Pirtle said, county officials will be meeting with FEMA this week in reference to public assistance. Public assistance is separate from the individual’s assistance that FEMA has been meeting with residents in regard to.
From the bottom of my heart on the personal and professional side, I want to thank everyone. we couldn’t have done it without you all.-Jim Pirtle, Sullivan County EMA Director
Pirtle said the ongoing support from the community as well as those outside of the county has been incredible.
Residents agree that things are coming together, and they appreciate the support of their local leaders.
Randall Drake is pleased with the leadership role Sullivan Mayor Clint Lamb has shown throughout the time of crisis.
“Finally, the model is right. You got to take care. It’s time to take care,” Drake said.