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The Meck Radio Show w/ Dr. Jim Reese - Supt. of Enterprise Schools. 05/09/07
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An in-depth interview w/ Dr. Jim Reese - Supt. of Enterprise Schools.
It was a privelege to visit with Supt. Jim Reese and his asst. Bob Tomberlin. [ May 2]
Their offices are attached to the devastated Enterprise [ AL] High School.
EHS is adjacent to Hillcrest Elementary which was also severely damaged by the tornado.
Dr. Reese was born and raised in Enterprise.
He's been in the school system for many years and became Superintendent in 2001.
We stood in the 1st hall as he began to share about that horrible day .. March 1st, 2007.
He talks about the parents who were waiting to pick students up at 1pm.
Dr. Reese talks about his day beginning at 7am talking with the EMA.
He canceled a meeting at Wallace College plus a meeting w/ the Enterprise
mayor so he could stay in his office and monitor the bad weather.
After talking with the EMA and other school officials ..
Dr. Reese made the decision between 9:30 and 10a to dismiss schools at 1p.
At 10:30a - Tornado warning issued .. All students are moved to the halls.
At 1p .. the tornado warning is still in effect.
Schools are not dismissed during a tornado warning.
Dr. Reese hears a WDHN report .. A tornado is near Enterprise [and the High School].
[ Tornado hits EHS at aprox 1:10].
We walk down the hall and there was The Wildcat.
Flashback: Mar 3, 2007 .. SGA Pres. Megan Parks reminded Pres Bush .. 'Don't step on The Wildcat.'
If he had .. You wonder if Megan would have asked The Pres. to 'scrub it with a toothbrush.'
Dr. Reese takes me by the science hall.
This wing is flattened and 80-100 students all made it out alive.
It's very still and quiet. Struggling to try and comprehend what happen here.
Dr. Reese tells about the brave, pregnant science teacher who saved students.
We arrive at the 3rd hall .. where 8 young lives were taken by a tornado
with 170 - 180 mph winds.
I will forever remember the lockers ending suddenly .. and then the concrete and re-bar ..
the walls and ceiling stacked in front of me [ for about 25 ft]
and only sky above me.
Dr. Reese told me ..' Meck .. Right here [ pointing a foot away] is where they
pulled the last body out at 12:47am.'
I'll never forget the devastation I saw and the pain I heard in his voice.
I'll always remember what was written and drawn on a chalkboard that stood alone ..
reflecting a bit of light/hope on this dark 3rd hall.
The sun was shining down on a cross with the words: 'For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.'
I had to pause. I was trying to imagine that day.
Dr. Reese picked up a brick and gave it to me .. so I would remember the 3rd hall and the 8 lives lost.
They are building a memorial with the bricks to always remember these young, beautiful lives.
MICHAEL TOMPKINS - 17, SR.
AJ JACKSON - 16, JR.
KATIE STRUNK - 16, SOPH.
RYAN MOHLER - 17, JR.
MICHAEL BOWEN - 16, JR.
MICHELLE WILSON - 16, SOPH.
PETER DUNN - 16, JR.
JAMIE VIDENSEK - 17, SR.
Dr. Reese thanks the many responders that day .. firefighters .. doctors .. nurses .. and the many brave teachers and students who saved fellow students.
He talks about the many who have given and helped.
They've even received checks from people in Japan and other countries.
He thanks Paul Finebaum, Coach Nick Saban and the many who have reached out.
He seems really appreciative of the 'rival schools' [ Dothan, Northview, Auburn] and others
who wore The Wildcat Blue to pay tribute to his alma mater - EHS.
Dr. Reese thanks John G. Ralls [ of Andalusia] who sold them 140 acres to relocate and rebuild EHS.
Mr. Ralls is giving 600 thousand dollars [ from the purchase] back to the Enterprise School system.
Hillcrest Elementary will be rebuilt at its current location [ adjacent to the current EHS].
Dr. Reese talks about the monies coming in and the 70 - 75 million needed to rebuild
both Enterprise High School and Hillcrest Elementary.
Plus they also must build a new football stadium.
32 million by the State.
20 - 25 million by insurance.
.. ?? ... by FEMA.
70 - 75 million dollars needed [ for both schools].
There is great hope for this wonderful town .. The City of Progress.
Their future is so bright .. They gotta wear shades.
I really believe that.
Enterprise Schools has a School Board and a School Supt.
that have one agenda only .. the students.
The board is appointed [ not elected].
No doubt they've been chosen at this special time in history [ to rebuild the school and many lives].
As Dr. Jim Reese said to me .. ' We have a vision for our students ..
In 50 years we want people to look back and say .. 'They really knew what they were doing.'
Believe me .. They really do know what they are doing in Enterprise [and have for a long time].
The City of Progress/Hope.
One of the top School Systems in the Nation. They will rebuild the schools and the stadium.
And most of all .. the lives.
After walking the EHS halls that are shredded apart ..
It's Beyond a Miracle to me that hundreds weren't killed
on Thursday Mar. 1st, 2007 at 1:10p.
Even after you see it .. You still can't believe it.
Note: The Enterprise High School Students currently go to school
at Enterprise-Ozark Community College [ Mon-Thurs. 12:30p - 5:30p]
and Friday is a normal schedule. [ I believe]
Dr. Reese said the New EHS should be ready in aprox. 3 yrs.
Hillcrest Elementary in about 2 years.
A Special THANKS to the 1,563 Subscribers [ as of today] who download every show
and Forward it to your Friends.
Thanks for your TIME.
If you'd like to donate and help them rebuild:
Enterprise City Schools Tornado Relief Fund
C/O CB & T Bank
921 Boll Weevil Circle
Enterprise Al. 36330
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T I M E spells L O V E
Written by Eddie Carswell and Michael O'Brien
Father's Day, Mother's Day, EVERY Day...
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T I M E spells L O V E
Throw me the ball Daddy
I've been waiting all day
I'm so glad you're home and we got some time
So Let's go out and play
Just me and you
It's my favorite thing to do
Daddy I'm tellin' the truth
T I M E time
Spells L O V E love
And Love is the one thing
This world needs more of
The choice is up to you
So what will you do
With your T I M E Time
and your L O V E love
I'll never forget you Daddy
You taught me the game so well
It's taken me places I never dreamed
So many stories to tell
How the time has come and gone
And now I have a son of my own
And I'm making sure your memory lives on
I've heard it said a time or two
This game of life can take from you
But I found out love isn't really love
Till you give it away
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