Sixty-five years ago Loren Valentine was a newly married 18-year-old who found himself a first responder to the catastrophic Blackwell tornado, May 25, 1955.
On Monday, Aug. 3, at the Top of Oklahoma Museum, 303 S Main, Blackwell, Valentine will be available to talk to Museum visitors about his experiences. His story is part of the Museum’s new exhibit, “F5 in 1955”, which opens to the public.
The exhibit has been in the making for over a year. With financial support from the city of Blackwell, the exhibit occupies an entire room. It tell the story of the tornado which killed 23 people and wounded hundreds.
Valentine is one of three first responders whose stories are also available on video at the exhibit. He was in the National Guard at the time of the tornado. After making sure his wife’s family was safe, he went to help in the destruction area. Other first responders interviewed are Ed Urban and John Powers, both of Blackwell.
The exhibit features a tornado simulator, first hand stories, commemoration of $0.75, Saturda the victims, Udall, KS tornado information and video presentations.
The book, “Without Warning”, by Ginny Goresen and Bob Burke, detailing the tornado is on sale at the Museum. Because of generous donations, all proceeds from the book go to the Museum. Books are $20.
The Museum requires social distancing and masks. The Museum is open 10 am- 4 pm, Monday-Saturday.