Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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HENRYVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The principal of Henryville High School has returned from a week-long trip to Moore, Oklahoma, where he offered help and hope to victims of the EF5 tornado.
WDRB News went with Troy Albert and his family on their unique mission to Moore -- and while the trip is over, the Alberts say the job is not yet finished.
Troy Albert is back on the job here at Henryville High School. But Albert and his wife Karen say their hearts are still with the people of Moore, Oklahoma. "It was overwhelming; the miles and miles of destruction," said Troy Albert.
The devastation -- the Alberts say that is the lingering image of their trip to Oklahoma; destruction way beyond what they experienced last March 2nd in Henryville. But they also witnessed the same sense of unity and resolve among the victims. "Just realizing the fact that, yes, there was devastation, but I still saw the value of hope that was coming back to us," said Albert.
But the experience was much more emotional than the Alberts expected. "I kind of felt like we had moved on from our experience. We had learned a lot from it, but I had felt like we had kind of moved on. It brought back a lot of those feelings. I really felt for the people that were there," said Karen Albert.
The Albert family spent a week in Moore, delivering gifts from the people of Henryville, helping distribute relief supplies and offering encouragement to principals who face rebuilding, much like Albert did last year. "They knew that we truly did understand exactly what they were going through. And left our cards and said, if you need something let us know," said Troy.
"I really felt like it was part of healing process, not only for us but for our community to be able to reach out and do something for them right away," said Karen.
The Alberts are not planning a return trip to Moore anytime soon, but Karen, who teaches science at Henryville High, says she would like to adopt a class in Moore and continue to help with the ongoing recovery.
"We're hoping that we can connect with some of the teachers and be able to have them tell us what they need," she said.
More than 700 miles separate Henryville and Moore, but now the two communities will always have a common bond.