A Reflection of March 14th by Nancy Chalfant

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On the night of the tornado, when the warning alert came on the television and my cell phone, I walked to the living room to see if my husband, Steve, had also seen the alert. About then, our son called from Richmond to say, “It’s on the ground coming toward you, get to safety now.” We quickly went to our inner bathroom, got inside the tub; we didn’t have time to get anything to put over us in case the roof fell. Within minutes, we heard the roar. Although people say a tornado sounds like a train, it sounded more like a war zone. I can remember when something hit our roof, that I just thought, “This is it.”

Then it was gone just like that! We were almost afraid to go into the house, not knowing what kind of damage was done. When we went around the corner to the living room, a gaping hole in the ceiling with a tree limb hanging down was the first thing we saw. Then the water started pouring not only through the hole, but through every ceiling light fixture and fans. We had no electricity, so we got candles lit and grabbed flashlights, trash cans, trash bins, and towels trying to keep the water from ruining as much as possible. It was a long night.

When the morning light came, Steve said he was going to check our neighbors. When he returned, he tried to tell me how much damage had been done to the Gaslight Addition, but it really didn’t register. Our friends started calling to find out if we were okay and invited us to come to breakfast. They walked over to our house, and when we walked down the hill to see the devastation and the houses no longer standing, I realized how truly fortunate we were because although our house was damaged, we still had a home.

It was then that I made the decision to try to help those who were going to need assistance. When the Randolph County Long Term Recovery Team was formed, I volunteered for the Communications Committee where we could get information for those needing help. Going through the process of dealing with insurance adjusters, contractors, repairs, replacement, and the whirlwind of emotions was difficult for me, so I know what others are going through. As I talk with tornado survivors on the Hotline, I listen to their stories, try to give them resources for services and just a “pep talk” to let them know our recovery team is trying to get to them as soon as we can. It is a long road to recovery; I wish it was a quick fix, but it will take time, resilence, and a lot of patience. One thing I do know, we are a strong community; we will rebuild.

Nancy Chalfant
723 Wedgewood Drive
Winchester, IN 47394

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