Reed exits a front porch in Lexington. The F4 tornado lifted the home from its foundation and deposited it more than 50 yards away. Photo by Brooke Littell
After the Storm—Serving People after Tornadoes Spiral Through the U.S. Midwest
Story by Carmel Palmer
Who [God] comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:4
Retired Capt. Joanne Murphy stared at the television in disbelief. Moments before, friends had offered their basement, warning her that potential tornadoes were 30 minutes away. She assured them she would drive over if needed. Now the newscaster announced the tornado was in Henryville, IN—her town. Though 75-year-old Joanne was new to tornadoes, having recently moved from Texas, she knew she must take cover. Dashing to a utility closet, she crouched under the lowest shelf, holding a pillow over her head. The first funnel hit moments later; then a second was even more violent. After the roaring and golf ball-sized hail passed, Joanne peeked out. Above her, she saw sky. All that had stood between her and the storm were the shelves she had installed earlier that week. The tornado had ripped off her roof and most of her walls, as well as taking her yard’s huge shade trees up by the roots. The floor was covered in sheetrock and glass; she was afraid to walk in case it caved in. The phone lines were jammed. She began panicking. Even her years in the army paled in comparison to this experience. Thankfully, neighbors found her and carried her out.Returning to the wreckage from a friend’s house days later, Joanne found multiple church groups already at work. Among the volunteers were disaster relief teams from two Indianapolis Calvary Chapels: Horizon Christian Fellowship (HCF) and Horizon Central. “When she saw us working, she almost cried, touched that we were there to help her,” reported Buzz Miller, a member of HCF’s Horizon Emergency Response Team (HERT). The teams cleared debris and tore down walls, but they also prayed with her and took her out to dinner. There she and Buzz discovered they served the same year in Vietnam. Joanne remembered, “They were so personal. I wasn’t ‘Murphy the victim’ to them—I was Joanne the person. I sincerely believe our friendship will continue even when cleanup is over.”
You can find the complete article in the Summer 2012 issue of Calvary Chapel Magazine. To subscribe click here.