An EF2 tornado severely pounded East Brewton recently during Tropical Storm Claudette. Storm-damaged areas included W.S. Neal High School and the Escambia County Fire Rescue Station. Mobile homes and houses were demolished, trees toppled and debris covered streets. More than 1,000 customers were temporarily left without power.
Immediately following the tornado, the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) began looking for ways to help people affected by the storm.
“Although this was a terrible and tragic experience for those in this area, it provided an opportunity for APSO’s Mobile Division and Mobile-area employees to do what we do best: embrace the opportunity and bless those who have suffered so much loss,” said Sharon Murrill, Mobile Division External Affairs community relations manager and APSO president.
Carol Birdwell, an Alabama Power mail specialist in the Mobile Division, was quick to provide her knowledge and expertise on how to collect items for the storm victims. She made sure all locations outside of the Mobile metropolitan area had an ample supply of drop boxes for donations.
“As soon as I communicated the information about the critical need for the tornado victims, I started receiving phone calls, asking what was needed,” said Murrill. “Donations began to pour in from all over the Mobile area.”
Household items were purchased and donated by Mobile Division employees for men, women, children and older people.
“Many Mobile employees asked if they could make monetary donations, and those funds were used to purchase supplies and other items,” said Murrill. “APSO purchased sheets, pillows, comforters, towels, washcloths, skillets, baby wipes and diapers. As always, the employees exceeded our expectations of how many donations we would receive.”
Lacie McCall, a women’s ministry leader at Faith Church in East Brewton, was devastated over her community’s loss and was eager to help.
“I reached out to Steve Massingill, the pastor of Faith Church, about sponsoring a Tornado Disaster Relief Drive and he agreed it was a great idea,” said McCall. “I placed an announcement on social media and people in the community began to share it.”
Murrill responded to McCall’s social media post and the pair moved into action to help the community.
“There were so many items to deliver – three trips had to be made to Faith Church,” said Murrill. “Thanks to the help of Johnetta Jackson, Mobile business office manager, and Sam Schjott, Monroeville community relations manager, we successfully delivered the items with each vehicle filled to capacity.”
“Thirty-two families were given assistance,” said Massingill. “This would have not been possible if it wasn’t for Sharon Murrill’s caring attitude toward the community. We were overjoyed that we could help so many families in their time of need. We are overwhelmed with the love and support of Alabama Power Company.”
“Sharon did a great job with this project,” said Beth Thomas, Mobile Division Corporate Communication manager and APSO executive liaison. “I’m so proud to be a part of APSO, and I am even prouder of our employees and their generosity.”
For more information about APSO, click here.