Early last Sunday morning, I awoke to read the newspaper and clicked on the weather channel to get the latest flood update. To my disbelief, I quickly learned that our county seat El Reno had been hit by a large tornado and had sustained significant damage.
I had fallen asleep early Saturday night. It had been a very tough week in the newspaper business and I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. As I figured out where the path of the tornado had been, I watched the many first responders and workers from the City of El Reno and Canadian County moving throughout the area to look for the injured and to begin the task of moving the rubble.
What really got my attention, besides the interviews of the many eyewitnesses, was the first time El Reno Mayor Matt White was brought on camera and questioned about the condition of the city and those affected.
You see, Matt White is a fourth generation El Reno-ite. He takes things concerning his town very personal. His town’s Fried Onion Burger day is to him what Czech day is to us. His Small-Town Weekend and Town Wide Garage Sale are like a couple of his children. You can sense his passion to make El Reno a better place when you see the Visit El Reno television commercials he is featured in. Matt White loves the people of El Reno and they love him.
I blasted Matt in my column about 25 years ago. He had gotten into some trouble at the local saloon for firing a small caliber handgun up in the air one night when he was partying and much younger. I remember him calling me at my Yukon Review office and apologizing for getting into trouble. He told me that he was too young to be in the public eye and that he had just used poor judgment and made a big mistake.
I was impressed by the guy. I liked the way he took responsibility for his actions. I also heard some of the old guard really lined-him-out and that they told him to get his head out of his ass. For those of us who have watched him handle this latest El Reno tornado crisis, have seen him be an excellent spokesman for his hometown and a source of inspiration and who to go to for those affected by this tragedy.
I think Mayor White epitomizes El Reno and I believe he will be given special recognition by the El Reno Chamber of Commerce as that town’s Man of the Year. Everyone in the United States saw him cry on television for his hometown. If he could have stood in the path of that tornado and deflected it before it hit, believe me, he would have done it.
Since we have had all this rain and flooding throughout our state and country the last several days, I have caught myself spending way too much time watching and listening to David Payne’s weather coverage and endless warnings about impending storms. I made the comment to someone this past week that it wouldn’t surprise me to see a big ark floating around the bull pasture over in front of Bob Funk’s ranch. I kidded around saying that Bob would be the old, gray-haired man with a long beard, steering that ark that contained two of every kind of animal on the earth.
I thought about what I had said to our customer in the office earlier this week and did a little research to see what the Bible tells us about the great flood
First of all, I believe that Noah was the earth’s first weatherman! The Bible tells us he warned many people to get ready for a flood like they had never seen before. Noah didn’t have NexRad, NexGen or Doppler, but he had someone in much higher authority whispering in his ear telling him what was going to happen with the weather.
Second, God apparently thought that “eight was enough” since he allowed Noah and his wife plus Noah’s three sons and their wives survive on the ark. I never really thought about it that way, but it would make sense according to what the Bible described to us about the flood.
The third thing about the flood and the warning is to take heed (like Noah did) when we are warned about impending bad weather. I went out into the garage and vacuumed the floor of the storm shelter this week. I also kept the door open to air it out in case I might be down in there for a while. I guess seeing how fast and furious that storm that hit El Reno really woke me up.
I am personal friends with Gary England and watched him from the time I was in second grade until I received the Piedmont business of the year award from him in 2015. I now listen to David Payne since Channel 9 is a locally owned media outlet like the ones I own.
When it comes to our weather, I think we should reflect upon what Noah heard and did back then and to what the local meteorologists do and say now.
Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?