When a man stormed onto Chuck Poland’s bus and demanded children. Mr. Poland made the ultimate sacrifice.
Melinda Campbell said, “There is nothing greater you can do to lay your life down for a child. So he is definitely, definitely a hero.”
Now, Melinda Campbell knows she has big shoes to fill.
Donny Bynum, Dale Co. Superintendent said, “We prayed to god that we could find someone that would love those children like Mr. Poland did.”
School leaders said Ms. Campbell answered those prayers.
Donny Bynum said, “I don’t think she realized the magnitude of what those children witnessed. And she has made a special, special connection with those children. Even though she is not Mr. Poland, she has found a way love those children through this heartache.”
Heartache that Ms. Campbell is familiar with after losing a loved one herself to a murderer. With the help of a grievance counselor, steps were taken to help the kids get a sense of normal. Changing the route to not drive up to the scene of the crime, was one way to make the kids not have to relive that tragic day.
Melinda Campbell said, “We had to work out a situation where it could work for not only them to have transportation, but also keeping in mind the emotions for the children that were on the bus that day for fear of going up the road again.”
Ms. Campbell hopes the kids go on to be successful wherever the road leads, as a way to say thank you to the man who gave his life for them.
Melinda Campbell said, “I’m just hoping that I can at least do half of as good of a job as he done and that I would make him proud.”
Dothan’s Child Advocacy Center will continue to work at the Dale County schools. A grant has allowed them to work with those students through out the summer and will continue throughout the year.