April 4, 2023

Indiana officials tour tornado destruction in Sullivan, promise aid

U.S. Sen. Todd Young toured tornado destruction in Sullivan Monday with Mayor Clint Lamb. - Devan Ridgway/WFIU/WTIU News

U.S. Sen. Todd Young toured tornado destruction in Sullivan Monday with Mayor Clint Lamb.

Devan Ridgway/WFIU/WTIU News

Volunteer workers continued their efforts in cleaning up Sullivan, Indiana after a tornado destroyed portions of the town Friday evening. Members of the press and government officials also descended upon the once quiet town.

Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) visited the site of the destruction on Monday. He said he’s working to get an expedited federal disaster declaration for Indiana so Hoosiers in Sullivan and other parts of the state can start rebuilding after Friday’s tornadoes. Young walked with Mayor Clint Lamb through Sullivan as residents and volunteers continue to clean up of what remains of their homes.

Young is hopeful federal dollars will soon start flowing to assist in rebuilding Sullivan.

“Republicans and Democrats, the entire congressional delegation intends to work together to advance whatever Declaration the governor might seek,” he said. “And it remains to be determined exactly what timeframe we're dealing with. But I'm told it's going to be in fairly short order that we'll have more clarity about that.”

Young praised community members for coming together to help each other. Three people were killed in Sullivan, and more than 200 structures were damaged or destroyed.

“No one thinks this is ever going to happen and to their home to their local community, and that certainly applies to Sullivan, Indiana,” he said. “But my sense is, this community has never been stronger, it's never been tighter. And it's never felt more love for one another than they feel right now.”

Governor Holcomb surveyed the damage over the weekend and pledged his support in the weeks in months ahead.  Senator Mike Braun and Congressman Larry Bucshon are scheduled to hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Mayor Clint Lamb said his community is preparing for the potential for more severe weather on Wednesday, with residents boarding up their windows and covering their belongings.

“It's one of those things, you don't want to alarm the people because you know, there's a lot of people that are pretty scared and pretty raw right now,” he said. “But we just want to make sure that they're all aware of the weather and to be watching and taking those warnings and those watches seriously.”

“It kind of goes all across the political aisles, right? You have Governor Holcomb down here; he’s texted me in the evenings and just ready to do everything. And then for the White House to be able to have a conversation with him, it's just it's a lot less lonely when you have some friends that are willing to step up and that truly care.”

Lamb says that his most important role as mayor at this time is physically to be there for his constituents.

School did resume Monday on a 2-hour delay and power on the outskirts of Sullivan –away from the hardest hit areas – has mostly been restored.

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