Mural, documentary commemorate Buffalo Creek Disaster

Karissa Blackburn kblackburn@civitasmedia.com

June 19, 2014

BUFFALO CREEK — Kerry Chad Albright is somewhat of a “local celebrity.” Known as the Miracle Baby, Albright was only 9-months-old during the time of the Buffalo Creek Disaster. His mother, Sylvia Albright, and 18-year-old brother, Steven Albright, ran from their house after seeing the wall of water roaring down their hollow. Sylvia tossed Albright to higher ground to save his life. She and her teenage son didn’t survive.

In fact, the water had claimed 125 lives, injured another 1,100 and left over 4,000 people homeless.

Forty-two years after this horrific disaster, Albright, along with Poon Watchara-amphaiwan from Poontography and Joe Sciacchetano from Bitphoto LLC, is making a documentary about the flood.

As part of the documentary, the men flew international mural artist Kevin Lido down from Montreal, Canada to muralize the old Clay Brothers building (which now holds V&S hair salon). The building is one of the only few buildings still standing from pre-flood time.

“This guy just got finished doing a big project in Montreal that got over 15,000 likes on Facebook,” said Albright. “It’s an honor to have him come down and commemorate this for us.”

The mural, which is visible just as a person drives into Buffalo Creek, pictures rubble and ruin on one side, but on the other a mother clings to her baby as they flee the scene.

“I just wanted this to show the destruction that happened on that day, but to also show the hope that was there,” said Lido.

Lido started on the mural Tuesday afternoon. He will be working throughout the days until the mural is finished.

The documentary is not just focusing on Albright’s story, it is focusing on all of the survivors and life that has bloomed from Buffalo Creek.

“Some of these stories, you think you know how they’re going to end, but they just throw you for a loop,” said Albright. “We were filming with one lady the other day, she was the first person I had ever met who had actually been in the water, and she said it was the most peaceful moment of her life. She was sitting there in the water and knew she was going to die and had such peace about it. But then, at the last moment, her dad or brother or someone reached down and grabbed her by the hair of the head and pulled her out.”

There is no projected completion date for the documentary at this time. However, Lido expects the mural to be finished by Friday for those who wish to see it fully completed.

More of Lido’s work can be found at kevinledo.com.