Column: Cold weather doesn’t chill county’s hearts

Published 1:36 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2010

By Justin Averette

Our historically cold weather proved one thing to me — Chilton County is made up of people with some pretty warm hearts.
I witnessed this firsthand after covering two residential fires the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s.
One in Clanton destroyed a home the Monday before Christmas. Arriving at the still smoldering trailer, I saw family members and neighbors helping to salvage anything they could, including burnt presents, wrapped in seared paper.
The second fire in Lomax was far more tragic, taking not just property but the life of a young mother and her two-year-old daughter, while leaving behind three other children.
After both fires, readers of the paper, some who didn’t even know the victims, contacted me to see how they might get in touch with these people who had lost everything. Local businesses also helped, by accepting donations for the families.
These families, particularly those of Charlene and Imya Jackson, have a long road ahead of them, and will need more help and prayers.
During the cold streak, county government also stepped up and opened a warming shelter in the basement of the Chilton County Courthouse.
The county commission, especially chairman Tim Mims, Sheriff Kevin Davis and his department and Chilton County EMA Director Bill Collum and everyone there worked together to look out for county residents.
When the warming shelter plan was put into motion, weather forecasts were calling for 2 inches of snow and single-digit temperatures. The snow never came and temperatures, while cold, didn’t drop that far, which lowered the need for the shelter. Still, the idea was still a good and sincere one, put together quickly and efficiently.

– Justin Averette is managing editor of The North Chilton Advertiser.