World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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The Worst Tornadoes in History Strike Iowa: Locating the Governor in Romania

28/6/79

Amb. Quinn describes how on June 28, 1979 an unprecedented array of tornadoes strike the American Midwest including Iowa where the towns of Algona and Manson are devastated. The governor’s authorization is needed to call the Iowa National Guard to service to protect the towns, but Governor Ray is on a trade mission in Romania behind the Iron Curtain. Amb. Quinn recalls how, with the tornado warning sirens going off around the state capitol, he desperately places calls through international operators to be connected to Governor Ray’s hotel room in a small town outside the capital city. When a strange woman answers the phone at two am, Amb. Quinn is faced with a difficult choice

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