Photograph from KAKE-TV, Wichita, KS.


It used to be a car. Barely visible from Highway 54, it was finally spotted at 9:10 am on Saturday, May 24, 2008. The previous night, a tornado had been spotted in the area. The tornado threw the Saturn Ion 150 yards into a wheat field.

The young couple was from the small farming community of Rocky Ford, Colo., which advertises itself as the Sweet Melon Capital of the World. In 2000, the town had a population of 4,286 people, 1,655 households, and 1,136 families residing in the city. According to the Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Ford is a quiet agricultural community ... that offers a peaceful respite to modern day life. An historical community with a warm blend of a times-gone-by atmosphere and modern conveniences with down home friendly people and a great climate....

But whatever the population on May 23, 2008, before the end of that stormy night Rocky Ford had been diminished by two of its own when their path crossed that of a tornado in rural Kansas.

It used to be a car. But sometime about 11 pm last Friday night, it became a coffin for Gary and Kimberly Whitlow of Rocky Ford, Colorado.

It was dark, and perhaps they didn't know how close they were to such a terrible power. But, again and probably not for the last time, don't try to outrun a tornado.

My condolences to their families and friends.

Doug Anderson
Huntsville, Alabama

A Post Script:

According to published reports, the couple met at their church and had been married only 13 months. They were on their way to a family reunion. They had no children, but were carrying baby clothes as a gift for his brother and wife who had recently had a child.


Tornado safety tips that could save your life from the American Red Cross: Tornadoes (,1082,0_591_,00.html). Site accessed May 25, 2008.


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