LITTLE AXE — Lisa McCathern is used to serving customers as owner of Tangled Up hair salon.
She’s continued to do so since a tornado hit this small community two weeks ago, even though her shop has been closed. Just like any good businessperson, McCathern saw a need and worked to fill it.
Lately, instead of doing hair, she’s been lending a helping hand.
“People are living in tents,” said McCathern, 38, of Little Axe, illustrating the severity of the tornadoes’ affect on residents. “Their houses are gone with maybe just a wall still standing. They are camping on their property.”
To help her fellow community members, McCathern organized a tornado-relief center in the parking lot adjacent to the Pecan Valley Junction store and adjoining antiquated Shell gas station the day after tornadoes touched down in the community. There they gave out food, water, toiletries, toys, shoes, cleaning supplies, linens and more.
Her salon sits next to the gas station. She said her business has been closed since the storm, not because the structure was damaged but because personal cosmetics “is the last thing people are needing right now.”
It was at the impromptu relief post that Indiana Cares — a 12-person volunteer relief group comprised of residents of Southern Indiana — joined McCathern and others helping area residents after 800 miles on the road dodging storms.
The volunteers found that needs remain dire for those in Little Axe who lost their homes and sense of normalcy of daily life in the storms, but residents there, and concerned people, including the Indiana Cares crew, are working to ease the suffering of the tight-knit community’s tornado victims.
In control: Tattoos on McCathern’s shoulders pointed out from under her tank top as she quickly moved about, organizing supplies and delegating volunteers at the distribution center. Since the city of Moore, located about 20 miles from Little Axe, received the most significant destruction from the tornadoes, McCathern said the needs of her neighbors’ had been almost forgotten.