Julie Howard, who also lived at the edge of the Bell Street destruction, had debris embedded in the side of her house, and her backyard shed and fence were destroyed.
“I looked out and I saw the same sky they had in Chicago (on television, when the Chicago Bears game was on earlier). I heard the debris start hitting my house, and then I heard the train sound. I just prayed. I didn’t know if the house was going to explode or what.”
If there was any positive to the devastation, it was seen in the army of volunteers who were up early cleaning up in bitter cold and wind.
Kokomo High School junior Katie Harbaugh was helping Rawlins, while over on South Bell, Bill Bates, who grew up across the street from Freda Smith’s house, was helping Smith’s granddaughter, Stephanie Anderson.
Anderson’s kids, Sarah, 9 and Nathan, 15, were combing through wreckage behind the home, gathering anything worth saving. They found the military flag which graced the coffin of their great-grandfather, Harold Smith, a World War II veteran.
“We see people affected by the storm, and their first question isn’t whether they’re OK ... they want to make sure their neighbor is OK,” Donnelly said. “We thank the good Lord for sparing our lives.”