Henryville family to move into new home seven months after tornado
A Southern Indiana family plans to return home this week, seven months after devastating tornados.
HENRYVILLE, IN. (WDRB) -- A Southern Indiana family plans to return home this week, seven months after devastating tornados. But their move also reveals why a pastor's promise to rebuild 100 homes for Henryville families in need will likely be broken.
It's moving day for Mark and Kim Schneider and their two kids. Kim carried boxes up the stairs to her new home off South Francke Road in Henryville, Indiana and explained, "My laundry room is my favorite. I love my washer and dryer. I know it's silly, but it is a small thing that makes our home a home."
We have followed this family's journey for 234 days. Since that terrifying March day when 170 mile per hour winds from an EF-4 tornado picked up their modular home and fractured its foundation.
Mark says, "First it seemed like nothing was going on, and then the next thing you know your whole world is turned upside down."
The Schneiders have been staying in a camper across the street as their kids slept on air mattresses inside Mark's mother's home.
The family now has finished building one of the homes with the help of the Henryville Community Church.
Mark says, "I just don't want people to think, 'hey they just got a brand new home for free.'"
The family kicked in all of their FEMA money, which was $10,000, and more from savings from supplies. The home was built with the labor of volunteers, who left a mark in more ways than one.
Kim says, "We had one that came in from Pennsylvania that we got very close to, and his signature is right above our door."
Volunteer hours proved to be a blessing and a burden for the Schneiders. They kept pictures of the progress on their home dating back to the days after the storm. They were promised the home would be done in three months and became frustrated and disappointed by delays.
Mark says, "A week or two might go by and we would not have anything done because they didn't have anyone that had the skills for what we needed done to our house."
Some neighbors in the Henryville community said they're starting to get a clear picture of who's coming back and who is probably not by the homes that are left in disrepair.
Pastor Rich Cheek of the Henryville community church said Sunday that his pledge to build 100 homes here over the next two years for tornado victims in need "may no longer be necessary." Cheek said the church has 15 houses in various stages of construction and six more are yet to come.
Mark Schneider says the rebuild process has taught him patience, and tested and brought him closer to his faith. A sign now hangs in the tree beside his home that reads "God is still good." It reminds them of a scripture that says your loss won't compare to your gain and you will be restored.
Kim placed the last box for the day in a bedroom and said she was feeling "a mixture between crying and wanting to jump up and down. Not crying the same tears that we cried for the last seven months. These are tears of joy that we are finally getting to come home where we need to be."
The Schneiders have gone from a modular home to a three bedroom, two bathroom, 1180 square foot house. Mark said all they need is a building inspector to sign off this week before they can officially move-in.
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