January 30, 2017
Matt Deighton is originally from Larned, Kansas, and as a child growing up in Pawnee County he would see numerous tornadoes during the early 1970’s. There would be sightings of other tornadoes in the 80’s, but the one Matt remembers most is the Greensburg EF5 tornado. Hanging on to his mother and dog, Matt survived the historic tornado by taking shelter in a neighbor’s basement. Soon it will be 10 years since the tornado blew 95% of Greensburg off the map. Matt shares interesting facts about the storm, the night it happened, and the power of how volunteers made Greensburg what it is today. His inspiration, and motivational message is for people of all ages. The program on Monday night is the same program Matt shares at national conventions, college universities, and small town classrooms around the country. If you are a fan of American Pickers, you may have seen Matt, and his Dalmatian on the episode titled; “Pick it Forward.” Kansas State University’s Huck Boyd National Institute of Rural Development gave Matt it’s Community Service Award for 2016. After his home was destroyed in the Greensburg, Kansas EF5 tornado in May of 2007, he began work as the official Volunteer Coordinator during the clean up and rebuilding, directing the efforts of some 16,000 volunteers who flocked to Greensburg to help. His travels to disaster sites has taken him to Missouri, Minnesota, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, Georgia, New York, Newtown, Connecticut, Canada, and most recently to San Bernardino, CA. Matt would often travel with his Dalmatian named Molly. Though Molly passed away in December 2013, aged 14, she is already immortalized in Matt’s two children’s book about the Greensburg disaster, Molly and the Tornado; and Molly and the Stars of Hope. Autographed copies of his books will be available.