Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all the other social media sites means we have access to instant news 24/7.   That was not the case on this date in 1976.  And it changed my life forever.

Today is the anniversary of the Teton Damn collapse that led to the deaths of 11 people and cause Billions of damage to property and changed not only my life but countless more lives.

Reports of a leak at the Damn began early that morning leading to the collapse at 11:55 am MDT. I was working at a convenience store in Memphis TN earning money for my second year at what was then Ricks College.  That day was a busy one at the store and I was unaware that people I knew where in extreme danger.   I did not learn of the collapse until Midnight.   NO SOCIAL MEADIA AND VERY FEW NEWS TALK RADIO STATIONS.

I was doing my job closing the store when I finally found out the news and my heart sank.   I got home as soon as I could trying to find information about it.   But the info was hard to find.  So I gave up went to bed and got up early to catch the news.  I was amazed at what I saw and heard that day and wondered if Ricks College survived, they did with little damage.

So at the end of the summer I got on board the plane and ventured to Rexburg and found what looked like a war zone.   Main Street had a few buildings standing but destroyed.  As I walked the campus I started to hear the stories of survival and courage…  I woke up every morning in my dorm room to the sounds of helicopters flying by with cars hanging from them.

Life moves on and Rexburg started to rebuild and it was the aftermath of the flood that affected my life so much.    Watch this video and you will find out why.

That man on that recording was Don Ellis, and Don became my boss in April of 1977.  His son Mitch Ellis was on the air putting on the air the reports.  Later Mitch told me that he didn’t think the leak would cause very little flooding.  He thought that until he heard his dad’s report while the damn collapsed and Mitch told me he thought his dad was going to have a heart attack live on the air.

The radio station stayed on the air as long as it could giving out information warning of the impending disaster.  Mitch said that at one point a policeman came to the radio station and said leave now or you will die.   Mitch grabbed what he could and left as the water was rising to the point that he thought he had waited too long and might die himself.

KRXK went back on the air inside a trailer that was placed on land just off the Rexburg Cemetery road.  We would joke on the air that our address was Cemetery road plot number 7.  The best part was when I realized that I was working with some heroes who had risked their lives to give information that no doubt saved lives.

June 5th 1976 an event in Rexburg Idaho had such a profound effect on my life even though I was miles away in Memphis TN

On the morning show Baby’s 1st words, sing along songs, and pizza.

Stupid news.   She did what,  Crayons, and Huffing

Laff Lines:   vacationing in Africa