By Mr. Lance Crawford
What were you doing in Lubbock in May 1970?
I was a sophomore at Monterey High School. Just came home from a meeting at the downtown First Methodist Church.
What do you remember from the night of May 11, 1970?
On my way home to 69th St., I was watching the intense lightening and winds - knowing something was up. When I pulled up to my father's house, the next door neighbor - who was a "mobile news unit" - was sitting in his car on his radio. Then I knew something was up. I hear the alert had not yet been given because one of his associates on way home from city hall meeting was standing on his car somewhere with police and fire dept on standby. When that person witnessed material "the size of a house" fly by, the alarm was given. The tornado was already making contact. I started to get in shower when my father began banging on the door to get in the basement. I was watching power lines going out from the bathroom window. That night my father and I went with our neighbor who had pass to get through the national guard perimeter downtown. I will never forget the images.
What was your reaction to the destruction you saw in the days following the storm? Did the storm damage your home, workplace, or school?
Overwhelmed. That night I tool photos downtown. The next morning I accompanied the same gentleman to north of town to the Mesa Rd area. I also took photos there for the entire morning. Nothing but rubble where there was any rubble left. In 2 different homes there was a cleared spot swept by tornado in middle of rubble. In the first cleared spot was a piano appearing to be untouched among the total destruction of all else left of house. In another there was a large collection of national geographic magazines apparently removed from shelf by tornado and stood in stack in middle of cleared spot - all in sequence and perfect condition. There are many stories from that walk. A pick up truck wrapped completely around a tree like tin foil.
Did you know anyone who was injured or killed by the tornado?
My pony league baseball coach was killed. There were several other people I was acquainted with who also died.
Did you or anyone you know help with the emergency response or cleanup following the tornado? What was your role? Explain.
NOt then. I did become an EMT and drove an ambulance several years after that. And I am now an RN trained in emergent medicine.
How did the tornado experience change you? How did it change the City of Lubbock?
I have a new and never forgotten respect of what a tornado can be and do.