Shannon Bridges: Risk Worth Taking

In the days immediately following the deadly March 1st tornado that destroyed Enterprise High School, stories of individual acts of heroism emerged.

But one of those acts of self sacrifice that captured the attention of many viewers was that of Shannon Bridges.

Shannon is an Enterprise High School teacher, five-months pregnant, who was credited with saving the lives of two of her students.

She spent two and a half weeks in Flowers Hospital recuperating from two collapsed lungs, seven broken ribs and a broken collarbone.

He’s not expected to arrive until July, but John Edward Bridges already has a baby book. Right now, it holds just a few early ultra-sound pictures.

"We've saved a few newspaper clippings for his book,” Shannon says. “I guess he's a celebrity before he even gets here."

And what a story his baby book will eventually tell, his mother says, "I was hurting, but didn't know it was that bad. My only concern was him."

Shannon was just five months pregnant when the tornado struck Enterprise High School on March 1st. It was a day that started out like most other school days for the senior high science teacher. But when the tornado warnings started sounding, the power went off.

“The girls were screaming,” she says, reminiscing of that fateful day. “I said it's gonna’ be alright and just hugged them. The next think I know they're pulling us out of the rubble.”

Because she was pregnant, Shannon was one of the first evacuated. She was taken to Flowers Hospital where an immediate ultra sound determined her baby was fine.

She however, didn't fare so well. She spent a week and half in intensive care. She had no idea about the magnitude of the disaster she had survived. “I had no clue until two days later in ICU watching the news,” she says. “[They] said students passed away. I was devastated.”

Shannon has been heralded as a hero for her actions; attention she says, she'd just as soon be without. “Anybody would have done it,” she says. “I think of them as my kids. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.”

Married less than two years, Shannon and her husband Phillip say the arrival of John Edward in July makes it a little easier for them to move forward.

They’re fixing up a nursery, and picking out baby clothes.

Shannon says her health is improving everyday and while she can't go back to teaching until next fall, she says she plans to visit the students in May. “I can't wait to see them,” she says.

In fact, she says it's her students who deserve the credit for being a hero. "I thank Hannah and Courtney everyday for screaming. If they hadn't…they're our heroes."

Shannon seems to be doing fine physically.


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