Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Capstone Heroes named at tornado remembrance ceremony

Student Government Association president Grant Cochran urged the student body to look forward without forgetting the six UA student lives lost in the April 27 tornado.

“We will never forget the events of April 27, but we must move forward,” he said Sunday evening during UA’s Day of Remembrance ceremony, “Forward towards a tomorrow that is even brighter than today. Forward as a community.”

Cochran said he wants to assure students that opportunities to participate in the tornado relief effort will remain open.

Mark Nelson, vice president of Student Affairs, spoke about the dedication each of the student victims had for their school and community. He went on to describe the qualities and personal ambitions of the students who died.

The speakers at the ceremony, including head basketball coach Anthony Grant and head football coach Nick Saban, encouraged those in attendance to honor the victims of the storm by making a positive difference in the community, as exemplified by the recipients of the Capstone Heroes Award.

Grant then announced the recipients of the award and presented them with

plaques. The awards, he said, were given to those who best demonstrated the community ideals of service, generosity and compassion.

Mayor Walt Maddox, who was commended for his exceptional leadership and dedication to the Tuscaloosa community, was the first recipient of the Heroes Award.

Cadet Charlie Stimpson was the second recipient. Stimpson, a medic with the Army Reserve, was on hand after the disaster to provide medical assistance to those in need, often using his own clothing as bandages for the victims.

The third to accept an award was UA student Amanda Phillips for her efforts in aiding the Tuscaloosa community. Though Phillips returned home to Dallas shortly after the tornado, she collected and delivered thousands of dollars in relief supplies.

Derek and Susan DeBruin were recognized for their efforts as first responders. The couple provided comfort to Nicole Mixon during her final hours.

Patrick Morris accepted the final award on behalf of UA Greek Relief for their extensive efforts immediately following the day of the tornado. Together, they provided over 52,000 meals and collected more than $180,000 in relief funds.

Saban then addressed the hundreds in attendance, describing how everyone can make a difference while seizing opportunities.

“Each and every one of us have some kind of memory in our heart and mind,” he said. “Hopefully we all have gratitude for those memories that we have, but we also have a deep appreciation of life itself and an appreciation for the lives that we have and what we can accomplish.”

Saban said the football team would wear ribbons on their helmets to represent everyone affected on April 27.

Cochran then spoke about the power of community, as students lit crimson and white luminaries around Lake Palmer, each signifying a beacon of progress and of hope.

“These luminaries represent each action, each person, each life, each moment in time and together they create a collective light,” Cochran said.

Cochran said the relief effort after the storm helped shed light on the power of community.

“It is in times like these that the true essence of community is on display,” he said. “A community is more than a group of friends or acquaintances. A community is greater than a single university. A community expands beyond one’s comfort zones. A true community is when students and employees help neighbors and strangers rebuild their homes and businesses. A true community holds strong and together through hard times and adversity.

“The Tuscaloosa and Alabama communities are alive and well tonight.”

William Evans contributed to this article. 

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