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Courtesy Jason Gaston
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Courtesy Jason Gaston
Hoover City Dad Brigade volunteers: David Abston , a Hoover Student; and dads John Lundeen, Larry Langston, Brian Pierson, Mike Shaw, Mark Hamilton (manager of the Home Depot), Derrick Murphy (Hoover Board of Education President), Dennis Donnelly, Bill Fargason, Josh Hillman, and Raymond Dunn.
On Aug. 1, the Hoover City Dad Brigade — a group of more than 400 fathers and volunteers, including 70 students — joined together to clean up Hoover’s 10 elementary schools.
During the Sept. 14 Hoover Board of Education meeting, Board President Derrick Murphy will publicly thank the members of Hoover City Dad Brigade, an organization he created in May to get more fathers involved in Hoover City Schools. The public tribute to the group will take place during the 6 p.m. meeting at Hoover High School.
Murphy said the Hoover City Dad Brigade wouldn’t have succeeded without the support of the volunteers, especially the project leaders who organized cleanups at each of the 10 area elementary schools.
“It’s a team effort; nothing done was an I thing,” Murphy said. “The goal is to honor all who participated, especially the project leaders. Those guys took the time to find out what was needed in each school. Some of them took off work to make this event a success. They took personal time off and never once complained, so I have to give them the public recognition they deserve. All of the dads who came out on Aug. 1, please come to our Sept. 14 meeting.”
Murphy also commended the Home Depot near Riverchase Galleria for being the first business to support the Hoover City Dad Brigade. Besides providing a gathering place for volunteers to meet prior to the Aug. 1 cleanup, the Home Depot also donated several items used to spruce up the 10 Hoover elementary schools, including pine straw, shovels, buckets, rags and painters tape.
“Businesses and residents of the City of Hoover always support our schools, that’s why I moved my family here,” Murphy said. “What resonated Aug. 1 is when you call on our dads, they’re coming. I really appreciate so many dads showing up. The goal was 400 and we achieved above that. We had 70 students come and churches to get engaged. Hunter Street Baptist, Cross Creek, and Bluff Park Community Church helped, and more churches want to get involved next year.”
Mark Hamilton, store manager of the Home Depot near Riverchase Galleria said supporting the Hoover City Dad Brigade was “the right thing to do” in terms of investing in schools.
“When you get an opportunity to give back to your community, it’s a no brainer,” Hamilton said. “When you meet somebody like Derrick Murphy and see the passion he has for our schools, it doesn’t take a lot of thought process to figure out we want to be a part of this. Getting parents involved in the schools is a win-win for everybody.”
Murphy said he has been amazed at the positive reaction of the Hoover City Dad Brigade cleanup. Many teachers and principals have called to thank the dad brigade.
“Teachers praised how parents and our community gave their time and showed they care,” Murphy said. “To see dads come together and unify to do something great for our school system was a blessing.”
Hamilton said he was doubtful Murphy would be able to achieve his goal of getting 400 fathers and other volunteers to show up for the Aug. 1 cleanup.
“It was exciting for us to be involved, but when I saw the turnout I knew we were going to be a part of something special,” he said. “When Derrick told me he was going to get 400 dads involved, in the back of your mind I said no way. Then they showed up in full force and I said wow.”
Hamilton, who lives in Shelby County, hopes his school system can follow the Hoover Dad Brigade example and get more fathers involved in the schools.
“Some of the fathers had sons with them as well so it was a really good example for them to set,” Hamilton said. “I can’t wait to see what they do next year. Derrick Murphy is the real hero in organizing this.”
Murphy said he is already making plans for another Hoover City Dad Brigade event in the spring of 2016, and will unveil details in January or February.
“The goal is to create additional events throughout the year, whether that’s cleanups or social activities,” Murphy said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s 10, 40 or 400, it’s about fellowship and giving back to our schools and community. I am just proud to be given the opportunity to serve on this board. You have to be a great servant before you can be a great leader.”
The tribute will recognize these Hoover City Dad Brigade project leaders who were responsible for identifying and organizing cleanup efforts:
Bluff Park Elementary: Andy Wilbank and Alex McRee
Deer Valley Elementary: Lane Siddall, Keith Stephens, Clifford Thomas, Nick Neura, Dennis Quirk, Brain Pierson and Michael Bell
Green Valley Elementary: Dennis Donnelly, Josh Hillman and Calvin Davis
Greystone Elementary: Timothy Woolley
Gwin Elementary: John Lundeen and Brett Reach
Riverchase Elementary: David Abston, Jay Bucki and Peter Turney
Rocky Ridge Elementary: Mike Shaw, Cleo Clency, John Tschudin and Michael Fowler
Shades Mountain Elementary : Raymond Dunn, Larry Langston and Ray Cottrell
South Shades Crest Elementary: Seth Bennett, Dale Hathcock, Robby Lathom and Jason Durban
Trace Crossing Elementary: Bill Fargason