Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Texas Tidbits : Wichita Falls - Terrible Tuesday
Wichita Falls in November, 1979 to begin what would be a fifteen year odyssey into the world of radio at the "King of the Country", KLUR, 99.9 FM. At this time, the city was still recovering from the deadly tornado of April 10, 1979, Terrible Tuesday. The apartment I moved into was just re-built as the result of damage from the twister. Here's an image of what the complex looked like just after the storm. In a nearby city park, there were hundreds of Government trailer houses lined up side by side for what seemed like forever, inhabited by Wichitans whose homes had been destroyed by the mile wide tornado. It was a very humbling sight, to say the least. A little ways down the road to the east was Sikes Senter Mall, where many of the forty-five people who were killed in the storm were making a routine shopping trip, never suspecting how their lives would be changed forever. WARNING: the following story is NOT for the faint of heart : I became friends with a guy named Paul who was an EMT and responded to the unending calls for help after tornado. He told me of searching for survivors/victims in the rubble when he came upon a woman's hand pertruding from under the remains of a house. He moved the debris away to get to the woman, but there was no woman. Only a hand with a wedding ring on it. Paul's eyes welled with tears. END WARNING. I was told by other rescue personnel of straws from brooms, driven by the force of the storm's winds, embedded in telephone poles. Get this...one home was completely torn off its foundation., but on the concrete slab was a kitchen table with a checkbook and the month's bills laid out like someone had been sitting there within the last few minutes paying those bills. I am eyewitness to a community coming together in tragedy, pulling itself up by the bootstraps and declaring, "Mother Nature, you will not defeat us!". True Texans, those Wichitans. The storm of Terrible Tuesday, sadly will not be last to hit Texoma Town, but the people of Wichita Falls have put Ma Nature on notice that they will bounce back no matter what hand they are dealt. True Texans, indeed.