Killarney was devastated by tornado on November 22, 1968. The town will come together for a 50 year reunion this weekend.
Killarney was devastated by tornado on November 22, 1968. The town will come together for a 50 year reunion this weekend. Supplied

Brave act in storm sparked romance between Killarney lovers

A MOMENT of tenderness between a man and his sweetheart took place in the minutes when Killarney's ferocious tornado hit their car, this day five decades ago.

Allen Cooper didn't think twice when he put his own body on the line to shield his wife-to-be from the hail that pelted through their car on November 22, 1968.

Leaning over the console to protect 18-year-old Therese, Mr Cooper copped a beating that left him black and blue.

Remembering the moment "like it was yesterday", Mr Cooper said it all happened in a flash.

"My first instinct was to shield her, I never even thought about it," he said.

Now 68, Mrs Cooper said her husband was a hero.

 

Yvonne Reid, Therese and Allen Cooper at Warwick Library for Deborah Wheeler's presentation. Photo Sophie Lester / Warwick Daily News
Yvonne Reid, Therese and Allen Cooper at Warwick Library. Sophie Lester

"There was a woman in Kingaroy on the news recently who shielded her baby and they showed her back black and blue... well Alan's back was just like that," she said.

The lovebirds married two years after the brave act and have been happily together since.

"I suppose that did help seal the deal," Mr Cooper said.

The pair remember the wreckage caused by the storm.

"In the flashes of lightning we could see the church was gone, the principal's house at the school was gone, the Backhouse Store was gone," Mrs Cooper said.

"We went to the hospital afterwards and Allen helped move the elderly patients to the office, which was the only room dry."