For the first time, Enterprise police officers are talking about their experiences and the heroic steps they took to keep the community safe during the March 1st tornado.
Lieutenant Cindy Dunaway is one of two school resource officers in the Enterprise City School System and was at the high school when the tornado approached. "The windows shattered and trophy cases shattered,” she says, reminiscing of that day. “The lights flickered and the kids all started yelling and screaming and then you felt it."
But what happened afterward proved she was in the right place at the right time, when she and her partner were needed the most.
"We had injured kids that needed rescue and they said, 'we don't have any back boards' and I said, 'take some doors.' And they did. They literally carried three or four kids off first hall on the doors out front," Dunaway says.
Officer Adair Lee of the Enterprise Police Department says, "Myself and one of the other students moved some of the bookcases out of the way that had blown down over to the front hallway door, to be able to move those bookcases so people could get out safely. And once we opened the door, looking at it, it was devastating."
There were cars stacked on top of one another, power lines down and debris covering the ground, which became a problem for off-duty Patrol Officer Shane Odom.
He was trying to respond to the high school's call for help, but ended up rescuing residents nearby when he couldn't drive any further. He says he, "Just immediately got out of the car and started helping people. I mean, you had houses that were no longer there anymore, completely wiped out. I remember there was an elderly man in a two-story house that had completely collapsed and we helped pull him out."
Now, weeks later, the officers may not recall every moment they made a difference or person whose life they touched, but since then, they've received many thank you's and hugs of appreciation.
The memory the officers all have in common is being amazed by the strength they saw in the community that day. Now, Enterprise is well on its way to rebuilding stronger than ever.
The officers themselves are also on a road to recovery. Since the storm, the Enterprise Police Department has hosted healing classes and brought in counselors for the police officers.