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Introduced Version House Concurrent Resolution 22 History

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hcr22 intr
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 22

(By Delegates R. Phillips and Tomblin)




Requesting the Division of Highways to name a section of County Route 16, known as the Buffalo Creek Road, running through the unincorporated community of Lorado, Logan County, West Virginia, from the Lorado highway marker on the eastern edge of the community to the Lorado highway marker on the western edge of the community, the "Kerry Albright Road."
     Whereas, On February 26, 1972, a coal slurry impoundment dam owned by the Pittston Coal Company burst during heavy rains and collapsed two other impoundment dams, sending 132 million gallons of black waste water and sludge rushing in a 20 feet wave through the narrow Buffalo Creek valley; and
     Whereas, In a matter of minutes, 125 people were dead, 1100 injured, and over 4000 left homeless; 502 houses and 44 mobile homes were destroyed, and 943 houses and mobile homes damaged; 1000 cars and trucks were destroyed and total property damage was estimated at $50 million; and
     Whereas, In the midst of this devastation, a nine month old baby lay face down in the black muck, with only a tiny leg protruding above the surface; and
     Whereas, Some thirty minutes before, the baby's mother, Sylvia Albright, and older brother, Steven Albright, had been desperately running from the wall of waste water hurtling towards them when Sylvia tried to throw her baby to higher ground just as the flood waters overtook them; and
     Whereas, Sadly, Sylvia Albright and Steven Albright perished in the flood that day, and the baby was last seen floating in the swirling waters; and
     Whereas, As residents later combed the valley for survivors, the baby's seemingly lifeless body was found buried in the muck with severe bruises and injuries that rendered him nearly unrecognizable; and
     Whereas, The baby gasped for air when the thick mud was cleared from his mouth, and his rescuers realized that the baby had miraculously survived the flood and his subsequent submersion in the muck for at least twenty to thirty minutes; and
     Whereas, As the baby clung to life, he was taken to the hospital where doctors treated his injuries, but held out little hope for his survival; and
     Whereas, With the loving care of his father, Robert Albright, who stayed at his side day and night, the baby defied all odds and miraculously recovered; and
     Whereas, That baby, Kerry Lee Albright, henceforth became known as the "Miracle Baby of the Buffalo Creek Flood"; and
     Whereas, Robert Albright was working in an area coal mine when the flood took the life of his wife and elder son and destroyed his home, but he never returned after that fateful day; and
     Whereas, Kerry's survival gave Robert a purpose in life and helped him to cope with the devastating losses he had suffered, and Robert devoted himself to nurturing the fragile young life who had been spared from the flood; and
     Whereas, Robert Albright had black lung from twenty-five years underground in the mines, and he now took a disability retirement to assume the full-time role of single father and caregiver to his baby son - learning to cook, clean and sew, to bathe little Kerry and to rock him to sleep; and
     Whereas, Robert and Kerry lived several years in a trailer provided by the federal government to flood victims until Robert was able to rebuild on the site of their former home; and
     Whereas, As Kerry grew up, Robert was determined to provide a better life for his son and encouraged him to follow his dreams, often telling Kerry "you can do whatever you want to do and be whatever you want to be"; and
     Whereas, When Kerry showed an interest and talent for performing, Robert arranged for private dance and voice lessons for him; and
     Whereas, When Kerry graduated from high school, he attended Marshall University as a theater major, and then began a twenty year career in musical theater that has taken him around the world performing as a singer and dancer; and
     Whereas, In the years after he moved away, Kerry often returned home to visit his father who had nurtured him and encouraged him to pursue his dreams; and
     Whereas, When Robert Albright died in 2000 of lung cancer and black lung, Kerry's final words to his devoted father were, "I love you"; and
     Whereas, Kerry currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, where he appreciates his life, and lives with a positive and upbeat presence about him that reflects his many years performing in musical theater; and
     Whereas, The January 2013 edition of Reader's Digest featured an article about Kerry's miraculous story of survival, and now millions of readers are learning about the "Miracle Baby of the Buffalo Creek Flood" for the first time; and
     Whereas, It is only fitting that a section of Buffalo Creek Road be named for Kerry Albright to celebrate the miracle of life that he represents, and that by honoring Kerry, we also honor his father, Robert Albright, who lovingly nurtured his "miracle baby" into the adult that Kerry has become; therefore, be it
     Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
     That the Division of Highways is requested to name a section of County Route 16, known as the Buffalo Creek Road, running through the unincorporated community of Lorado, Logan County, West Virginia, from the Lorado highway marker on the eastern edge of the community to the Lorado highway marker on the western edge of the community, the "Kerry Albright Road"; and, be it
     Further Resolved, That the Division of Highways is requested to have made, and be placed, signs identifying the highway as the "Kerry Albright Road"; and, be it
     Further Resolved, That Division of Highways is requested to include on the signs an additional inscription identifying Kerry Albright as the "Miracle Baby of the Buffalo Creek Flood"; and, be it
     Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates is requested to forward a certified copy of this resolution to the Secretary of Transportation and to Kerry Albright.
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