A Man Hit Seven Times
Roy Sullivan was born 1912 in Greene County in central Virginia, today home to just a shade over eighteen thousand people. He was the fourth of eleven children and lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his family.
In 1940, at the age of 28, Sullivan joined the national park’s fire patrol. He became one of three rangers to monitor the forty mile area between Waynesboro and Swift Run Gap in the southern area of the park, less than eight miles from where he grew up.
In April 1942, Sullivan was in a fire tower lording over his land when a thunderstorm struck. This was a serious problem owing to the fact that the tower had no form of lightning rod installed. According to Sullivan himself, he saw lightning strike seven or eight times and the valley engulf in flames. He fled the tower, fearing what would become the inevitable. He didn’t make it far when he got hit.