Community coming together to help after devastating tornado


NEWBURGH, Ind (WEHT)– Clean-up continues after an EF2 tornado twisted through Newburgh Saturday causing damage to dozens of homes and businesses. But through the damage, the community is coming together to lift each other up.

Saturday night it was hard to see the damage because it was so dark. Sunday we got a better look at the destruction left behind and on Monday we’re seeing groups of people pitching in to clean and help out.

One family we spoke with says they started Saturday celebrating a birthday. But by the end of the day, they were sheltered preparing to take on the tornado.

“At that time, at 1 o’clock on Saturday, we were celebrating that he had made it to 97 and now we’re just all grateful that he’s going to make it to 98,” Susie Kuhlenschmidt says.

But they ended the night looking at a home torn down by a tornado.

Judy Morton, the homeowner says she and Eric Schwenker were sitting right in the path of the damage just minutes before it happened.

“We’re lucky we lived because if we’ve been out in the living room and dining room, then we wouldn’t have such a story to tell,” Judy Morton says.

Broken windows are only the beginning. The roof of her home on Jennings Street has been ripped off in some areas. Including her second-story bedroom. Exposing the whole thing to the outside. Now, days after the tornado, the clean up begins. Amy Walker and Susie Kuhlenschmidt are two of the people helping to sweep floors and pack boxes.

“Really, to be honest, didn’t know what to expect. Until we got here. And this is the worst thing we’ve ever seen,” Amy Walker explains.

“I mean when you walk in you see now you’re just like where do I start and then everything’s either got a little piece of glass or insulation on it,” Kuhlenschmidt says.

“My father who is 97 said that this is the worst devastation he’s seen since World War II,” Walker explains.

But they aren’t doing it all alone, Morton called in professionals to help also. Walker says the guidance is appreciated.

“Not only the extra hands but the knowledgeable hands. People who know what to do.”
Morton says she’s devastated because what’s happened to her home. But is staying optimistic.

“It’s not the end of the world when your friends come around.”

Morton says she’s been overwhelmed by the amount of help she’s been given. Electric crews worked all Sunday and Monday to restore power and around noon Monday, it came back on.

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(This story was originally published on March 30, 2020)

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