CAMBRIDGE CITY — Loss and generosity have provided common ground for two marching bands from almost opposite ends of Indiana.
The Lincoln High School Marching Eagles from Cambridge City in east central Indiana have spent their season building up funds to help their counterparts from Henryville, 120 miles away in the southern end of the state, replace nearly $100,000 in equipment that was destroyed when a tornado demolished much of their school building in March.
Members of the two bands met during a parade Sunday as part of Cambridge City's Canal Days festival. The Marching Eagles marched in front of a float carrying the Golden Band before presenting a donation check for $2,500.
"If that happened here, I would hope there would be someone there to help us," Lincoln High School band director Catherine Ray said.
Ray decided to help after seeing the extent of the damage at Henryville on a storm chaser's Facebook page just hours after the school was struck on March 2.
"She had taken pictures and she had this picture up — it was of the school — and it had been destroyed," Ray said. "There was a big sign on this wall that was still standing and it said 'Home of the Golden Band.' I broke down."
Several days later, she approached the Cambridge City school's principal and asked permission for the Marching Eagles to give all of their prize money from band competitions this year to the Henryville Golden Band. The band also collected donations, the Connersville News-Examiner reported.
Golden Band director Shanna Ledbetter said the Marching Eagles' generosity had deeply touched band members.
"We have had lots of donations given to us, but no one else has given up their own earnings to help us," Ledbetter said.