WLM Summer 2019 - Page 22

WLM | history Sharing the Storm – THE BLIZZARD on Tour By James Fuller Image courtesy James Fuller T he Blizzard of 1949 is a meteorological event that for nearly two of the first months of that year bound the region with persistent storms. Since writing The Blizzard of 1949: Surviving the Storm I have realized capturing every story regarding the blizzard is nearly impossible. As I have traveled across Wyoming during the last few months, I continue to hear accounts of those caught in the blizzard and I am continually amazed at the stories of heroism and resilience. Please let me share a few of those stories with you as we reflect on the 70 th anniversary of this event. After each of my presentations I typically see if there are questions or comments from the audience. However, before each Q&A, I always ask if anyone has any stories they would like to add to the presentation. At an event at the Goshen County Library in Torrington I was taken aback as I was giving my presentation. I was telling the story of Merl Peters, a gentleman who, like many others, was stranded on a Wyoming highway during the storm. Merl was instrumental in saving the lives of Wayne Yohe’s family, however Wayne himself had tragically died in the blizzard when he left the safety of Merl’s truck in search of help. Merl struggled to convince Wayne that his truck was the safest place to wait out the storm, yet Wayne defiantly pushed back as he felt finding help was the only way in which he and his family would survive. As I spoke, I noticed a lady in the audience wiping her eyes as though she was crying. I continued, but it became apparent that she was indeed crying. Stopping the presentation, I asked if she would like for me to move on to another story. She apologized for crying but said there was no need to stop -- she was thinking of her brother, Merl Peters. 20 Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine | Summer 2019 Shocked to have a family member of Merl’s in the audience, I asked if she would mind telling us about her brother and any memories he may have shared with her regarding the storm. She said her brother spoke very little about the storm, but when he did there was always the regret that he had not been able to save Wayne Yohe. He was reminded of the storm each and every