WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22ND., 2016
THE DAY I LEFT HOME
My memory isn't what it used to be.
But I can tell you what I was doing 44
years ago on June 22nd., 1972!
I can also tell you where I was on
the 23rd, 24th and every day for the rest
of that month and into July as well.
On the 22nd, I called my wife to
tell her I'd be home a little late. I
stopped back two and a half days later!
Even then I couldn't stay!
That's when Tropical Storm Agnes
was bearing down on Wyoming Valley.
I was News Director of WILK Radio
at the time and we were the area's
'Emergency Alert Station' for the
area. As the waters of the Susquehanna
River began to rise to a dangerous
level I decided to go to the Courthouse
where are station had a two way radio.
That way I didn't have to bother the Civil
Defense Officials with constant phone calls
But the individual assigned to handle
public information for Civil Defense
couldn't get in. Does anybody remember
what the term 'drafted' means?
Well I was.
It was an experience unequaled in
my news career!
I saw the Pierce Street Bridge get
washed away! I was broadcasting a report
from Civil Defense in the sub basement
of the Courthouse when water started
to gush into the room from what should
have been the drain! Being a 'trained observer'
I decided to leave the room and move
I helped carry documents dating from the
1700's upstairs to try to keep them from
And I worked an Army field telephone
wired from the temporary CD headquarters
to the old WYZZ FM while directing a
network of 13 usually competitive radio
stations to air flood emergency reports. We
did that once at hour for several 'weeks after
the waters went back within their banks.
We only lost one report! Two kids saw
the wire running up the street and decided to
play jump rope!
Then President Nixon called it 'the
worst natural disaster to hit the United States'
up till that time.
But the work of volunteers, National
Guard, students who sandbagged, Civil
Defense and those great newsmen and DJ's
who took shifts on that emergency radio
network contributed to a very low death toll
in our area.
Let's face it folks. Some things
you can't remember. Some others you'll never
forget! Keep you feet dry and may all your
NEWS be good!