Doc in a Bus aids tornado victims

Published 9:19 pm Monday, May 9, 2011

A NAPA Auto Parts store in Hackleburg was destroyed by a horrific EF-5 tornado that ripped through the community in late April. -- Jeff Cothran, United Way

Since the Doc in a Bus program came to Dallas County, it’s value to the region has never been in doubt.

But last week, following the April 27 tornadoes that ravaged a number of north Alabama communities, the program proved it can make a difference on a statewide level.

United Way of Selma-Dallas County Executive Director Jeff Cothran said the Alabama Department of Public Health called him Friday, April 29 seeking help for the small town off Hackleburg. The group, he said, did not hesitate to offer aid.

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“I then contacted my board of directors and received the okay to deploy the unit to that devastated community,” he said. “We loaded and prepared the unit for transfer, then Sunday morning we left Selma for Hackleburg.”

The unit was delivered to Dr. Ketih Morrow, a Hackleburg physician, where it was set up for his staff.

The town, Cothran said, faced almost complete destruction.

“Hackleburg was hit by an EF-5 tornado, and it is completely destroyed, there is only one building in the entire town that is usable,” he said. “With the addition of the mobile clinic the doctor there can begin caring for the people there, and the relief workers. I truly feel blessed we were able to help in a small way.”

It was extremely important, Cothran said, to help meet the medical needs of the people of Hackleburg who were left homeless and injured. But, he said, it is equally important to help those who are there to help others.

“There are a lot of crews there helping remove debris and assisting with cleanup efforts,” Cothran said. “Those people are going to get cuts, bruises and sprains too. It’s important there is a facility to help care for them.”