Looking Back- Thinking Forward: McGaha recalls the '55 tornado

by Dale McGaha

My, how time flies! Sixty-four years ago was probably the most horrendous time in our beloved city’s history: the May 25 tornado.

I was fresh out of college and working as an advertising salesman for the Blackwell Journal-Tribune. Many of our Journal employees were called on to help with many details, mostly about the recovery operations.

I personally walked down some of the streets to check on J-T employees such as the beloved Helen Honick, our bookkeeper. Thank God she was safe, but several other friends were not. It was a long, scary, and sad night!

In a matter of hours, our general manager, Warren Bickford, and my advertising team started planning a special edition – and we put out some good regular editions, too. It was a labor of love, as were the many thousand acts of kindness that poured into Blackwell.

I remember the loving church groups that sent teams of helpers to start the long, arduous task of cleaning up reams of debris.

One could see the scars of this terrible disaster for months upon months. But Blackwell residents came back strong and showed the world what true grit and perseverance is all about!

Of course, we must not forget that there were thousands of friends and relatives that were praying for all concerned, too!

Let us pause now and give another heartfelt “Thank you” to each and every person who did any act of kindness – and let’s also pray that we don’t have to go through another sad event like May 25, 1955.