Tuesday is the 45th anniversary of one of the deadliest events in the modern history of our region. It's the day when remnants of Hurricane Camille stalled over Nelson County, killing more than 100 people.
45 years after the storm, a Lynchburg man is making sure no one forgets what happened.
Ed Tinsley saw the devastation of Hurricane Camille first hand as a Virginia State Trooper. Today, he's able to share vivid details about an event most of us would find hard to comprehend.
"I had an old reel-to-reel tape recorder," said Tinsley, who was among the many first responders assigned to work the aftermath of Camille in Nelson and Amherst counties.
"At night for 12 of the 27 days I was up there, I recorded my observations and things that occurred that day," Tinsley said.
Tinsley maintained his audio scrapbook, which he titled "portrait of a disaster," to help future generations understand the devastation he was witnessing. His recordings give listeners a front seat to history.
"Every gully, every little valley, every low spot in the mountain had been washed out as if some giant claw had grabbed a hold of it and pulled everything out of it," Tinsley remarked in 1969.
For more than 40 years, Tinsley has graciously shared his audio and made public presentations about Hurricane Camille.
"It was so massive, as far as the amount of damage you had and the number of people who were killed," Tinsley told WDBJ7 Monday.
By sharing his account, Tinsley hopes to preserve the memory of those who died, and teach an important lesson.
"If you're a history person and you are involved in something historical, record it and share it," Tinsley said. "That's how we preserve our history, whatever it might be."
Tinsley will be giving a presentation about Hurricane Camille Tuesday from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Lynchburg Museum. The talk is free to members of the museum and $10 for all others.