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Pinson praises those who helped during winter storm

By Lee Weyhrich

PINSON — It seems no one was unaffected by the Jan. 28 ice storm, but Pinson officials were glad to praise everyone who went above and beyond for the community.

Children were stranded at every Pinson school, but teachers and staff that remained at the schools did everything they could to make the experience as pleasant as possible, Councilman Joe Cochran said.

Students from Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School at the Shades Valley campus were not so lucky, however. A bus carrying roughly 50 students from the Clay and Pinson area was stranded in Trussville when roads became impassable.

The city of Pinson sign outside Pinson City Hall
photo courtesy of

According to Cochran, Trussville Mayor Gene Melton, along with First Baptist Church of Trussville and others, did everything they could to ensure that the students had a safe warm place to stay.

“I made a request on behalf of another member of this council to Gene Melton,” Cochran said. “I said, ‘I realize you have your hands full, and you have a large set of circumstances around you, but we have 50 kids in a bus sitting at one of your hotels that doesn’t have room for them. They’re coming from the IB school. There are Pinson kids there and there are Clay kids there. They only have one bus driver for supervision.’”

In less than an hour and a half a school bus outfitted with snow chains was sent to the rescue of the stranded students. They were taken to First Baptist Church of Trussville where they were housed, fed and entertained.

“One phone call and it was absolutely handled, I didn’t have to call back again,” Cochran said. “The next call I got was someone saying they were being picked up.”

Council members did what they could to help the community. Cochran and Mayor Hoyt Sanders shuttled people to safe places for two days and operated the sand truck. Sheriff’s deputies patrolled in the city’s large military truck and worked extra shifts to make sure the city had police coverage.

One story that Cochran believes sums up the spirit of the community is that of a young couple who was willing to walk for hours in the cold to ensure that their child had milk.

“I picked up a couple on Goodwin Road. They were walking, so I stopped,” Cochran said. “I asked, ‘Where are you heading?’ and they said, ‘Woodhaven.’ That’s a long walk. They were taking milk to their five-month-old who was at her mom’s house and she was about to run out of milk. We probably saved them about two hours walking in the cold. Our public safety dollars have been put to good use.”

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