North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

February 20, 2013

Help from afar: Mortimer Jordan students help Mississippi sports-medicine program following tornado

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

KIMBERLY — When an EF-4 tornado struck Hattiesburg, Miss. on Feb. 10, Chris King knew that some friends needed help.

King, who heads the sports medicine program at Mortimer Jordan High School, attended the University of Southern Mississippi, which was hit by the tornado. But even harder hit was nearby Oak Grove High School, whose field house took a direct hit. The storm completely destroyed the school’s sports medicine program.

It’s an area that King’s students know well.

“Students in our sports medicine program have attended a sports medicine camp every summer at USM for the past 19 years,” King said. “They were familiar with all of the areas that were hit. The pictures were shocking to all of us.”

So the Jordan crew decided to help the best way they could — by sending a package of supplies to Oak Grove to help them get back on their feet.

When the 50-pound package arrived in Hattiesburg, it was a welcome sight.

“Thank you for your support during this time of difficulty,” wrote Kevin Mauldin, King’s counterpart at Oak Grove. “This last week has been tough for our community, teachers, coaches, and students. Many lost everything, but we are so blessed not to have any fatalities.”

The tornado was the largest from an outbreak that hit several communities in southern Mississippi and Alabama. Thanks in part to a long lead time of about 30 minutes in the National Weather Service issuing a tornado warning, no one was killed. More than 80 people were injured in Oak Grove, Hattiesburg and the neighboring community of Petal.