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'I know exactly what you’re going through' | Henryville students show support for western Kentucky

In 2012, a tornado destroyed much of Henryville, Indiana. Students wanted to share words of hope with those who are experiencing a similar loss.

HENRYVILLE, Indiana — Students in Henryville, Indiana sent Christmas cards to tornado survivors in Western Kentucky, after a string of tornadoes devastated the area last weekend. 

The students are no strangers to tragedy themselves. On March 2, 2012, nearly ten years ago, a tornado outbreak hit Henryville and killed 11 people in Kentuckiana.

“The cable went out and I turned the radio on and the first thing I heard was 'Henryville is gone,'" Isaiah Turner from First Baptist Henryville said of listening to storm reports from his then-home in Scott County. 

The tornado destroyed Henryville High School, which has since been rebuilt. Some students, in elementary school at the time, said they remember that time well. 

Henryville senior Lauren Lovins was on her school bus, making her way safely home when the tornado hit. 

"We made it halfway through the route and ended up going in someone's house. I didn't know if my dad was ok, if my family was ok," she said. 

With the news of the deadly tornadoes in Western Kentucky, Henryville students, led by their campus ministry, decided to share the burden the best way they knew how. They wrote and sent Christmas cards to encourage the survivors.

“I told them, I was like, I know exactly what you’re going through," Lovins said. "Usually people say that for sympathy but I really do because I’ve been through it.” 

RELATED: Tornado victims include seven members of Kentucky family in Bowling Green

Students offered prayers, advice and a look ahead at the future, as western Kentucky begins to rebuild, just as Henryville did. 

"Like a scar you can't really get rid of it, you live with it but with anything like that you become stronger with it," sophomore Ayden Carver said. "So I think we're more prepared for stuff like that in a way."

Students also organized a supply drive at the community center next to Henryville High School. They plan to collect any items that may be useful - things they've needed before themselves. 

"Anyone can have sympathy but these students have actually gone through it," Turner said. 

Some of the students at Henryville were young at the time of the tornado, only seven or eight years old. They've watched their town heal as they grew up. 

“Even now it’s a touchy subject. If there’s a tornado warning now I stay up until it's gone because I have that memory of it," Lovins said. 

Students said the town will never be the same, but in some ways, it's better than before.

"When everything is taken from you like that, the only thing you have is other people," Carver said. "It’s going to be difficult, rebuilding from the ground up, but you have to stay together.”

The supply drive is running for three days next week, Monday, Dec. 20 from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m., Tuesday, Dec 21 from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., and Wednesday, Dec 22 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Contact reporter Grace McKenna at gmckenna@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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