Bama Aid: Eurekans Come Through

Give local residents a cause and a semi-truck, and see the magic that happens. Tornado victims in Tuscaloosa, AL, are sure to love seeing this truck pull up.

When University of Alabama softball player Courtney Conley heads south to Tuscaloosa today from her native school of Eureka High, a semi-truck load of water bottles, clothing, paper towels, cleaning supplies, diapers, shoes, wipes, personal hygiene items and cash will be heading south as well. It's all going to help victims of a massive and deadly tornado that occurred there Wednesday.

As reported in The Huffington Post Thursday, the town of Tuscaloosa with a population of 83,000-plus and home to University of Alabama, was one of the hardest hit areas in the state by a series of tornadoes. Click here to see a video of the twister.

As in Eureka-Wildwood Patch, Conley is a 2009 graduate who now plays third base for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Wednesday, she and team members survived what has been called one of the worst outbreaks of tornadoes in U.S. history.

After the tornado leveled and crippled the entire town of Tuscaloosa, college classes for the foreseeable future were canceled. Conley and other non-resident students were sent "home," at least until water and electricity can be restored.

Once back to the Eureka-Robertsville area this weekend, Conley first thought she'd ask a few friends if they had items to donate so she could take them back to Tuscaloosa on the plane with her. Upon talking with Eureka swim coach Sharon Wasson, the plans broadened.

At first, Conley said she hoped to host a relief drive on the parking lot of the Walmart Supercenter in Eureka, but the retail store did not authorize it. Wasson told her she would try to clear the way to use the Eureka High School parking lot instead, and "to pray for things to work out."

Wasson said she received a call from Conley about a half hour after that conversation, indicating that a connection to a local moving company led to a semi-truck being donated. The rest of the magic occurred on the school's lot, after loads of boxes, bags and individual items showed up last night, in a steady stream for several hours.

As one Eureka resident, Ann Martel, put it:  "We ran around this afternoon gathering every piece of clothing we didn't need anymore to send to them! It was a great opportunity to clean out closets while doing something good for someone else."

Mrazek Moving Systems donated the trailer, and a Conley family friend who is a commercial truck driver is donating his time.

For those who would like to still donate checks, send them to:

Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund
P.O. Box 020410
Tuscaloosa, AL  35402

This fund was established by Conley's softball coach, Patrick Murphy, to go directly to tornado victims' assistance.

In light of Wednesday's tornado, the Alabama softball team's weekend series with Kentucky originally scheduled to play at Rhoads Stadium April 29-May 1 was canceled and will not be made up.

The Crimson Tide is slated to return to action May 6-8 against Mississippi in Oxford, MS, to close out the regular season.

"The generosity of the Eureka community should never be doubted; Eureka always comes through," said Wasson. "Sometimes, Eureka's results and help are overwhelming."

suzie bolozky May 03, 2011 at 05:44 PM
My daughter went EHS 2006 and goes to BAMA. She is still there trying to help out as much as she can. She will be sooooo excited to see this!
Patrick Murphy May 03, 2011 at 09:20 PM
On behalf of the University of Alabama, the athletic department and Tuscaloosa, thank you Eureka for your most generous outpouring of love, support and humanity. I sent this link to the entire athletic department and within 10 minutes, I had over 50 responses. Most said this: 'What an AWESOME young lady you have on your team and what a great group of people in Missouri!" Thank you again! Coach Patrick Murphy, Alabama Softball Head Coach
Harry LeMay May 03, 2011 at 09:43 PM
A special THANKS to Courtney and all volunteers. From talking to my brother, thousands in the State still have no power. Hard hit communities including Tuscaloosa face years of recovery. I am thankful that all my relatives are safe, but my heart goes out to so many in my home state. Courtney: "For the first time in my life I am saying the words "Roll Tide", but only for the softball team." Again, Thanks for your outstanding community involvement.
suzie bolozky May 04, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Harry LeMay this for you. Thank you for your support but why only to only the softball team. They are are all humans beings in Alabama with families! That was a very selfish comment. It could very well been your life that was destroyed. Please think about that small comment that you made. Roll Tide!
Sharon Wasson May 04, 2011 at 07:13 AM


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