When the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed 19 years ago, Jeff McKibbin was one of many medical professionals who went downtown to lend whatever help they could.
Nearly two decades later, McKibbin returns to the site each year to help in a different way.
McKibbin, the director of the University of Central Oklahoma’s graduate athletic training program, and his students volunteer each year at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. This year’s marathon is scheduled to be held Sunday.
On the day of the bombing, McKibbin was in his office on campus at UCO, watching news reports roll in on television. When he heard a request for anyone with medical training to report downtown to assist, McKibbin grabbed his supplies and hitched a ride with a group of campus police who were headed that way.
McKibbin said he could see the column of smoke coming from the building from blocks away. When he arrived at the site, he learned his medical training wasn’t necessary after all. Instead of treating patients, McKibbin and several other volunteers were put to work helping recovery workers handle bodies.
The work went quickly, McKibbin said, and after about a half hour, the first job was done. So he began walking around the building looking for anyone else who needed help. As he made his way around the back of the building, he saw the body of a man, still sitting at his desk inside the building.
“It looked like he was asleep,” McKibbin said.
McKibbin spent about six hours at the site that day. But he goes back annually with his students to treat runners at the marathon for blisters, cramps, exhaustion and other issues. The students work alongside physicians, nurses and athletic trainers at medical stations along the marathon route and in a medical tent at the finish line.