In Memory Of November 6th - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

In Memory Of November 6th

(Editor's note: Click here for complete coverage of the Nightmare in November, and click here  then select "Most Viewed" for images of the devastation.)

Reporter: Rhanda Stewart

New Media Producer: Kerry Corum

UPDATE, MON, 11:00 AM: Numerous services are being held Monday, to remember the victim's of last year's deadly tornado.

It hit in the early morning hours, exactly one year ago today.

The F3 tornado hit Smith Mills, Kentucky, before traveling across the Ohio River to Ellis Park.

Three horses were killed and the F3 left behind thousands of dollars in damage to the race track.

Then the tornado moved north into Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties, where the toll was much more than monetary damages.

The Eastbrook Mobile Home Park was pummeled, with nearly half of the homes destroyed.

It wasn't until several hours later we learned more than 20 people were killed.

Some residents of Eastbrook started their day early, getting up to see the sunrise Monday morning, to remember their friends and family they lost in the November 6th tornado.

A special private flag raising ceremony took place at sunset, bringing more closure to the devastation.

What happened on November 6th runs vividly through the minds of the survivors one year later. "I relive that night, every night. My TV fell on my face. I was under the wall."

Thankfully, Sierra Hawkins' family is doing just fine one year later, living in a brick home on the eastside. "I just want to thank the Lord above, that we survived. It's a year later, and we are doing good."

On this, the first anniversary of that catastrophic event, she comes back to the place where her home once stood. "We are trying to cope. It's hard coming out here. I still cry a lot today, for the people that didn't make it. Why did we make it? Why did we survive?"

The Richardson family also feels blessed to have survived. Betty Richardson says, "I saw the reflections of the fireman's boots, and was so relieved they were getting to us. The window flew off the walls - flew off! We were spinning on a mattress in mid-air, and the kids were no where to be found."

Betty says the pain of that November day helped bring her family closer. "I'm thankful for how Jesus helped us not get killed in the tornado. I'm thankful we did not loose our trailer. We've come together. We do more things than we used to. We are a closer family."

Others weren't so fortunate. We've all become familiar with Kathryn Martin in the last year. She lost her two-year-old son C. J., but she's using this tragedy to make a difference.

As a tribute to him and to help other kids, she's starting C. J.'s Bus Foundation.

She plans to raise funds to build and operate a 40-foot custom bus. It'll serve as a mobile recreation unit that can provide a safe environment where children can stay after a disaster.

This project is one of the reasons Kathryn took a trip last month to New York. The foundation needs to raise $100,000 to begin the production of the bus. It's a nationwide effort and Kathryn plans to deploy C. J.'s bus to as many as ten disaster sites per year.

Our community came together to help after the tornado, and some men who know the pain of tragedy all too well, wanted to help.  Monday morning a firefighter from Utica, Illinois and the CEO of the "New York Says Thank You Foundation" were both at Eastbrook for this anniversary.

CEO Tom Parness tells 14 News, "There is no place I would rather be, than with all the folks in this community, here on this day and to show our support to what they are going through. We knew it was going to be a very difficult day for them, and it's like you kinda want to put your arms around everybody and say 'thanks for what you did for us and we'll always be with you folks.'"

Tom Brown of Utica says, "These guys call me all the time. We email all the time. They asked me to come back to the ceremonies this weekend, and it was a big honor to spend the time with our new friends."

And you can attend a service too Monday, to mark a day when Tri-Staters will always remember where they were. First Christian Church in Newburgh is getting ready for their November 6th remembrance service.

More than 1500 people are expected to attend.

The service is designed to remember those who died in the tornado. Survivors, volunteers, and first responders will also be recognized.

Organizers expect the service to be very emotional for many who attend, but they hope it also helps the community heal.

Guy Hall of First Christian Church says, "It'll help people look back and not only see the negative, because of the tornado, but also to see the positive from seeing the community rallying around them."

Monday night's service begins at 7:00 PM. First Christian Church is on the corner of Old Route 261 and Lincoln Avenue in Newburgh.

Everyone is invited to attend.

Our community came together to help after the tornado, and some men who know the pain of tragedy all too well, wanted to help.  Monday morning a firefighter from Utica, Illinois and the CEO of the "New York Says Thank You Foundation" were both at Eastbrook for this anniversary.

CEO Tom Parness tells 14 News, "There is no place I would rather be, than with all the folks in this community, here on this day and to show our support to what they are going through. We knew it was going to be a very difficult day for them, and it's like you kinda want to put your arms around everybody and say 'thanks for what you did for us and we'll always be with you folks.'"

Tom Brown of Utica says, "These guys call me all the time. We email all the time. They asked me to come back to the ceremonies this weekend, and it was a big honor to spend the time with our new friends."

UPDATE, MON, 8:00 AM: We want to invite you to take a few moments out of your day, to remember those lost one year ago in the November 6th tornado.

It was the deadliest storm to hit the Tri-State in three decades.

Unlike today, temperatures on that November morning were in the 70s, fueling the fire for severe weather.

Then, just after 1:30 AM, the next 45 minutes would shatter so many lives.

The F3 twister first touched down in Henderson County, destroying much of Ellis Park and killing three horses.

The tornado then moved north, into Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties.

The Eastbrook Mobile Home Park was pummeled, with nearly half the homes destroyed.

It wasn't until several hours later, we learned of the 20-person death toll there.

The rebuilding process has been a long one, and for many it continues even now. The healing process continues as well, and shows throughout the Tri-State in many different forms.

At Eastbrook, one mother who lost her son in the tornado is creating a foundation in his honor.

And Monday, the Red Cross is hosting a blood drive, as well as a ceremony.

The Red Cross continues to help those affected by the tornado. Nearly 900 families have received assistance so far.

Tornado survivors and Red Cross volunteers will be honored at the special ceremony, set for noon at the American Red Cross on Stockwell Road.

Tornado survivors and Red Cross volunteers will receive ribbons.

Monday evening, a reflection and remembrance service will be held at First Christian Church on Lincoln Avenue.

14 News will be there, and we will air that service on tape delay at 1:05 Tuesday morning. The service will also be available right here on 14wfie.com.

Previously: Monday is November 6th - a day in Tri-State history few will ever forget.

More than 20 people died one year ago, when an F3 tornado ripped through parts of Henderson, Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties.

This weekend, events are planned to remember the victims.

It all starts Friday afternoon at 3:30. Tucker Publishing Group will unveil the November 6th memorial magazine, which will be available to purchase starting Monday evening, at a remembrance service.

Then Saturday night at 7:00, the Evansville Philharmonic will have a special presentation in memory of the November 6th victims and their families at Victory Theater.

Saturday night at 8:00, a one hour special titled Rebuilding Lives, A year Later airs right here on 14 WFIE.

On Sunday, Baker's Chapel, which was destroyed in the twister will hold its first service in their new sanctuary.

Monday evening, a reflection and remembrance service will be held at First Christian Church on Lincoln Avenue.

14 News will be there, and we will air that service on tape delay at 1:05 Tuesday morning. The service will also be available right here on 14wfie.com.

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