About 12 years ago a tornado really tore up our neighborhood and the Southside. My wife, Lyn, and I were shopping at Walmart on U.S. 31 when it all started. As we tried to return home we discovered that there was a large amount of damage, and roads leading to our home were blocked by trees and debris.
After trying several different routes to our house, we finally parked near the post office on Edgewood Avenue and walked home.
We lost three trees that were fairly close to our house. It was amazing that while the trees were on different sides of the house, they all fell away from the structure. We were lucky as several homes at the other end of our addition were destroyed.
After we cleared the streets of debris, I walked back to our car and drove it home.
We were without electricity for a few days. In order to cut down on looting, a command post was set up, and we all received passes that allowed us into our neighborhood.
On the second or third day after the storm, we were out shopping and eating. When arriving at the intersection of Derbyshire and Banta roads, we had to show our paperwork to some Indiana National Guard troops, who had been activated to help in the area. As a former guardsman, I was pleased to see the soldiers protecting our neighborhood.
Later that day I heard someone yelling my name from our front yard. I walked to the door and smiled as I saw my long-time friend Ed Wetzel sitting in a golf cart.
He explained that he was really worried and just had to drive his cart up from his house in Southport to check on us. After visiting with him, Lyn and I needed to run some errands and grab a bite to eat.
We climbed into my old delivery van (known to family and friends as the Shiny Blue Truck) and headed out. We followed Ed to Derbyshire and Banta, where guardsmen were directing the evening rush hour traffic.
It seemed like it was taking a long time for Ed to get checked out. I sort of leaned out the window heard and some of the troops and Ed saying something about looters while pointing to my truck. Ed was waved on, as was the car ahead of us.
It was our turn, and I had the proper paperwork in my hand. I think it was the first time that we had driven the truck through the checkpoint. We figured we were going to be checked out pretty good after Ed’s story.
As we pulled up, a laughing soldier asked us if we knew that crazy guy on the cart. I assured him that I knew him well. He checked our paperwork and shook his head as he waved us out onto Banta.