ACS praises Alabaster’s response to winter storm

Alabaster City Schools central office staff members display a sign reading "Thank you from Alabaster City Schools" to praise the city's response to the recent winter storm. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Alabaster City Schools central office staff members display a sign reading “Thank you from Alabaster City Schools” to praise the city’s response to the recent winter storm. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Alabaster City Schools Operations Coordinator Jeff Atkins said it took a “Berlin Airlift-like team effort” to ensure children were taken care of and eventually returned home after the Jan. 28 winter storm.

“We all worked together to ensure the kids had blankets, the medicine they needed, everything,” Atkins said of the hundreds of children stranded overnight at the city’s schools from Jan. 28-29. “We just want to say thank you to the city for everything they did.”

Atkins and Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said they specifically wanted to thank Alabaster City Manager George Henry, Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, Fire Chief Jim Golden and Police Chief Curtis Rigney for their help during the storm.

After the schools reported hundreds of children would be staying overnight at the schools, the city worked to make sure blankets were delivered to each school.

“We want to thank Target, because they actually donated about $200 worth of games for us to give to the kids,” said ACS Chief School Financial Officer Sarita Tapscott, noting the city also purchased blankets for the students at the store.

ACS Coordinator of Exceptional Education Keri Johnson said the police and fire departments and the Lifeguard ambulance company helped to transport children home once road conditions improved the day after the storm, including a few Alabaster students at the Linda Nolen Learning Center.

“One of the little girls from Creek View and her mother were crying because they were so relieved that she was home,” Johnson said.

Atkins said vehicles containing an ACS staff member, an Alabaster firefighter or police officer and three students made trips most of the day on Jan. 29 to transport children home whose parents were unable to reach the school.

Vickers praised the city, ACS teachers and central office staff members for putting in long hours to care for the students throughout the winter weather ordeal.

“I’m really thankful for everything the city and my staff here did,” Vickers said. “They stepped up and made it a lot better for the kids.”