Raymond Washburn, a blind man who helped rescue five people after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, died on Jan. 16. He was 75.
Washburn, a member of the Yuchi Tribe, died at his home in Oklahoma City, and funeral services were held for him Friday in Bristow, Oklahoma, The Associated Press reported.
Washburn worked the snack bar on the fourth floor of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building for 32 years, KOKI-TV reported. He was there on April 19, 1995, when a truck bomb exploded through the structure, killing 168 people.
Four customers and an employee were in the snack bar when the blast occurred.
“I had the advantage over them because not being able to see,” Washburn said in an interview. “I felt like that you know, this is one time that you know you want to try to help somebody as much as you can. I knew how to get out. I just didn’t know what was going to be in our way.”
According to his obituary, Washburn graduated from the Oklahoma School for the blind in Muskogee and was a state wrestling champion. He was buried Friday, according to the obitiuary.
“His whole life, it’s like the Lord prepared him for that moment,” Washburn’s friend, Princella Smith, told KOKI. “What we would deem his disability, and I believe it’s I guess still called a disability, ended up being his strength because he could use his sense of direction to get them out,” Smith said.
Washburn did not need sight to guide others to safety that day.
“In this darkest time, the love from this blind man’s heart illuminated the darkness,” Smith said. “Love drove Raymond Washburn to get those people out. Love got him to his feet and said, ‘come on I’ve got you.’”
“We remember the good times and remember the good people, and Raymond was one of those,” Richard Williams, a survivor of the explosion, told KOKI.
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