Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lloyd Murdock, February 17, 2022

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Murdock's career

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Partial Transcript: This interview is part of the Western Kentucky 2021 Tornado Resilience Project.

Segment Synopsis: Murdock gives a brief description of his career. Murdock talks about being an emeritus professor after having worked at the University of Kentucky for fifty years. He talks about his time working at the Research and Education Center.

Keywords: Agronomists; Emeritus faculty; Research and Education Center (Princeton, Ky.)

Subjects: Agriculturists.; Agronomy.; College teachers.; Princeton (Ky.); University of Kentucky.

00:01:29 - Experience with the tornado

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Partial Transcript: So you, so you wanna take us back to that night, uh, how did you first--uh, how did the tornado event unfold for you?

Segment Synopsis: Murdock discusses his experience the night the tornado hit. He talks about hiding in a small room in his basement, and securing himself right before the storm hit it's worst point. Murdock discusses going out and helping neighbors once the winds stopped, including an elderly couple stuck under their house's walls.

Keywords: December 2021 Kentucky tornadoes; Disaster victims; Tornadoes--Kentucky

Subjects: Natural disasters--United States.; Princeton (Ky.); Tornadoes.

00:08:56 - Collecting his research from the wreckage

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Partial Transcript: And then, so you had those three days of putting your house back together, what did you do after those three days?

Segment Synopsis: Murdock discusses trying to find his research data from the Princeton research lab. He notes that he had difficulty finding his research due to the extent of the damage. Murdock says he was eventually able to find his hard drive and research notes.

Keywords: Argicultural research; Disaster aftermath; Research and Education Center (Princeton, Ky.); Research data; Tornadoes--Kentucky

Subjects: Agriculture--Research--On-farm.; Agriculture--Research--United States.; Agronomy.; Farms--Research.; Natural disasters--United States.; Research.; Tornadoes.

00:11:34 - Successful warning system

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Partial Transcript: Um, I think it's just--I think it's just impressive how many people were able to do that.

Segment Synopsis: Murdock discusses the benefits of the early warning system in helping people prepare for the tornado. He talks about how in Princeton no lives were lost despite the storm destroying 120 houses due to people following the tornado warning instructions. Murdock contrasts the current system with how he remembers tornadoes warnings from his childhood in Oklahoma.

Keywords: Tornadoes--Kentucky

Subjects: Natural disasters--United States.; Oklahoma.; Princeton (Ky.); Tornado warning systems.; Tornadoes.

00:13:24 - Benefits of going through difficulty / Vision for the future of the Research and Education Center

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Partial Transcript: How--how well has that--you know, the Research Station and, and the folks that are working there--how diligent--we have talked to a number of them.

Segment Synopsis: Murdock compares the situation Carrie Knott and her team are in with his situation coming to the Research and Education Center at the beginning of his career in 1970 when the Research Center was still small and developing. He describes how working as a team against difficulties helped make the team unify together. Murdock also talks about the plans for the future of the Center, citing that there is an opportunity to organize the new buildings in way that was not done during the previous fifty years.

Keywords: Carrie Knott; Rebuilding; Research and Education Center (Princeton, Ky.); Tornadoes--Kentucky

Subjects: Farms--Research.; Natural disasters--United States.; Princeton (Ky.); Tornadoes.

00:17:53 - Loss of workspace

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Partial Transcript: I know you mentioned that most of your research you were able to recover, was there anything you weren't able to recover, that you, you know, really are struggling with?

Segment Synopsis: Murdock discusses the difficulties of not having a designated office or lab to work in. Murdock says it has impacted his focus and ability to organize.

Keywords: Disaster aftermath; Tornadoes--Kentucky; Workspaces

Subjects: Agriculture--Research--United States.; Natural disasters--United States.; Princeton (Ky.); Tornadoes.

00:19:19 - Communication / Examples of human kindness

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Partial Transcript: And so, have you been able to maintain some communication?

Segment Synopsis: Murdock discusses the maintenance of communication ties with the University of Kentucky and the College of Agriculture. He relates that due to the distance there still is a feeling of being left to their own, but knows that communication will help restore normalcy over time. Murdock talks about some of the acts of kindness he witnessed. Murdock highlights people helping a bleeding elderly woman out of the rubble, as well as the thousands of people coming to Mayfield, Kentucky to help. He uses this moment to challenge media portrayals of Americans as selfish, citing the support and assistance of people in Kentucky as evidence.

Keywords: Media reporting; University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Subjects: Agriculture.; Agronomy.; Communication.; Disaster relief.; Princeton (Ky.); University of Kentucky.

00:22:40 - Rebuilding his home / Restoring Research and Education Center by 100th anniversary

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Partial Transcript: I know from, uh, the dean and some other ones we have talked to, they said we're really going to try this -- to have this facility back up by the 2025 ideally, but for the 100th anniversary.

Segment Synopsis: Murdock discusses plans on rebuilding his home and hopes that the Research and Education Center could be rebuilt by the 100th anniversary of its founding. He hopes that his home's restoration will be finished by early 2023, but is not convinced the entire center will be restored by 2025. Murdock hopes that there will be some spaces for meetings and to get by. He talks about the support the Center has received by the University of Kentucky and the local extension offices.

Keywords: 100th anniversary; Rebuilding efforts; Research and Education Center (Princeton, Ky.); University of Kentucky.

Subjects: Disaster relief.; Princeton (Ky.); Tornadoes.; University of Kentucky.