McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

October 12, 2013

Who is she? Toddler rescued from Enid flood, identity never publicized

ENID, Okla. — It already was a hectic night at the Enid OG&E office when railroad workers brought in a little girl.

She was “dirty, soaking wet and everything else,” said Eugene “Vic” Lippard, who worked for the utility company during the great Enid flood 40 years ago.

The rescuers dove into the water after hearing screams from both the girl and her mother as the torrent pulled them apart. One of them, Tom Baker, later told the Enid Morning News that he saw the child bobbing up and down in the water enough to snatch her up.

Lippard said he never saw the mother in the office.

“I’m not sure if her mother had even been rescued [yet],” he said.

Women in the office bathed the girl and wrapped her in the shop’s sanitary rags because they didn’t have any extra clothes to fit a 2-year-old. Lippard, an avid photographer, snapped a photograph.

There she was, standing on a desk, wrapped in white towels with the slightest grin on her face. The horror of nearly drowning eventually gave way to happiness of a pampered toddler.

“They had some candy or something in there. They were making her feel like a little queen,” Lippard said.

He shared the photo with the Enid News & Eagle Wednesday.

The rescuers apparently never knew the girl’s name. Lippard doesn’t know. For weeks after the flood, Enid’s two newspapers at the time wrote story after story on the dead and missing, about rescue efforts and the cost to rebuild. But the little girl was never identified.

Baker could not be located and another rescuer, Ralph Mitten, could not be reached Friday.

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