Seales spends 48 hours helping tornado victims

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

At least three generations of Mike Seale’s family have been Alabaster-Saginaw residents. He is the son of Shelby County Historian, Bobby Joe Seales and his wife Diane. He is older brother to Josh. Mike is a 1991 Thompson High School graduate.

From K-4, Seales attended Briarwood, then on to Altamont for fifth through eighth grade. He really wanted to try out for football and attend the same school as most of his friends and neighbors. Life at THS was “pretty easy,” according to Seales. At Altamont, he had already taken two foreign languages, geometry, algebra and trig.

When the time came for career planning, Seales first thought of civil engineering — building roads, bridges — but found the numerous required math courses boring. Trauma surgery was s consideration but all he could think about was how long it would be until he could actually do something.

He attended the University of Montevallo, where he was Pi Kappa Phi. From the age of 14, he worked with a pizza chain, from Matas, where he was a flunky to closing manager, to Pizza Hut as regular manager and then to Little Caesar’s as a traveling district manager.

He volunteered at the Saginaw Fire Department but felt useless in so many instances because he had no real training. He went to Basic EMT training at Shelton State. He said he loved it, that he had found his place. From there, he went on to Intermediate EMT training and in 2000 received his certification as a Paramedic at UAB.

Seales has been with Regional Paramedical Services for 12 years. They cover nine counties with their main office in Jasper and a satellite office in Alabaster. For six years, he taught a Basic EMT class at Jeff State and worked eight years in our coroner’s office.

In 2005, Seales was a member of the Shelby County Leadership Program. One has to be nominated, fill out an application, qualify, be approved and pay your money. The “program” lasts nine months like a school term.

Seales is father to Madelyn, age 11, and Molly, age “nearly 5.” He and girlfriend Reagan Holt love taking the girls places. Madelyn is a “special needs” child and the entire Seales family considers her a blessing.

Auburn football, the Atlanta Braves, working out at Golds Gym and training at Spartan Fitness in Hoover (mixed martial arts) keep this young man plenty busy.

On Tuesday, April 26, Seales left his home in Alabaster to report for duty in Jasper. Tuesday was regular but by 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, the action had begun. No power, spotty cell service, buildings collapsed, people around Jasper, Parrish and Aldridge pinned under debris. With phone service in and out Mike made a 12-year veteran’s decision — follow the line of destruction and help whomever, wherever and however, from doing triage to moving trees from the road.

By 2:30 p.m., he was back to Alabaster, changed clothes and then ran non-stop from St. Clair to Shoal Creek and surrounding areas. That was 48 hours of non-stop duty.

When asked how he could “do this,” he answered, “You have to have a certain mindset and know for all you can’t help, there are more you can help.”

Let’s definitely remember our law enforcement and firemen, but also our paramedics and ambulance personnel, who also do an outstanding job in our community.