Fifth-graders salute their heroes

Thompson Intermediate School student Karii Reed presents a statue to the school's resource officer, Nathaniel Parker, during a Dec. 4 ceremony at Thompson High School. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Thompson Intermediate School student Karii Reed presents a statue to the school’s resource officer, Nathaniel Parker, during a Dec. 4 ceremony at Thompson High School. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Over the past few months, fifth-graders at Alabaster’s Thompson Intermediate School have been compiling a list of their heroes ranging from school custodians to military veterans who have been wounded in battle.

On Dec. 3, the kids got a chance to show their appreciation to the local men and women during the Liberty Learning Foundation’s Super Citizen program graduation in the Thompson High School auditorium.

During the program, the students presented small Statue of Liberty statues containing metal from the actual statue to their heroes.

“Today is because the fifth-graders worked their tails off for something that meant a lot – a whole lot – to them,” said TIS fifth-grade teacher Shay Traywick, noting the students were responsible for raising money to purchase the statues.

Each TIS fifth-grade class formed a “Torch Team” through the program, and identified 26 individuals and groups to honor as local heroes. The students honored the following individuals and groups:

 

-Greg Ragland, a youth minister and sixth-grade teacher who has adopted six children

-Josh Forrest, a deputy sheriff with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and a U.S. Army veteran

-Jason Kelly, an account executive with Fox 6 News and a U.S. Army veteran

-The TIS child nutrition program staff, which works to ensure students are properly fed each day

-Thompson Sixth Grade Center teacher Carmen Vacarella, who supports students on a daily basis

-Glenda Frederick, who works to keep Alabaster’s schools clean

-Lance Cpl. Justin Lee Laddy, who was injured when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near him while he was serving in Afghanistan

-TIS school resource officer Nathaniel Parker, who keeps Alabaster’s students safe

-Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, who serves the city and works to support Alabaster’s schools

-Andy Garrett, an Alabaster firefighter and a substitute teacher at TIS

-Charlie Jean, a local 3-year-old who is battling cancer

-The American Red Cross, which helps those in need, especially during times of disaster

-Glenn Albarado, a Hoover firefighter and a U.S. Navy veteran

-Edward Robinson, a police officer and mentor to those in his fraternity

-Gary Burns, who helps to maintain Alabaster’s school buildings

-Darryl Whitehead, who works to keep Alabaster’s schools clean

-Christi Carger and Chini McCarter, both of who are Alabaster school custodians

-Noah Galloway, who lost portions of his left leg and arm while fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom

-John Woody, a local coach who helps Alabaster’s kids become better athletes

-Cam Ward, an Alabaster resident and Alabama senator who supports Alabaster and the city’s schools

-Julie Johnson, a TIS teacher who ensures students excel in the classroom

-Justin Trader, a U.S. Army veteran who has been deployed to Afghanistan twice

-Landon Cooper, who recently ran across the nation to raise money to combat sarcoma cancer

-Cedric Thomas, a Birmingham police officer who works in the department’s robbery unit

-Mike DeHart, a Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant who regularly helps those in need in the county

-Dr. Wayne Vickers, Alabaster City Schools superintendent who has helped the system grow since its inception