Maddox, Herndon offer Selma leaders advice, assistance after tornado

By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Karnera Gafford

Bobby Herndon may not be Northport’s mayor anymore, but his vow to help communities hasn’t changed. In fact, Herndon was in Selma Wednesday morning delivering his latest round of assistance after a severe tornado struck the city last week.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox was there on Tuesday, too, but Maddox was there offering advice on the long road toward recovery to Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. and his fellow city leaders.

Maddox has plenty of experience in storm recovery efforts, considering he was in charge when an EF4 tornado struck Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011. More than a decade later, Tuscaloosa looks a whole lot different, and Maddox is more than happy to share what worked and what didn’t. Most importantly, though? Don’t rush.

“I think the most important thing is to make sure you can slow down time and think through the decisions you are making,” Maddox said. “When you are faced with what (Perkins) is faced with and what we were faced with, you feel this unbelievable pressure to act and act and act.”

Quick reactions can cause problems down the road, Maddox said, and small issues can compound.

“Everything you do has a financial, legal and infrastructure consequence to it, like housing and economic development,” Maddox said. “You have a little bit more time than you think.”

Herndon, who collects supplies after major disasters around the Southeast and delivers them to areas in need, had two trailers of supplies destined for Selma, along with some advice for those who were affected by the storms.

“Don’t be afraid to take help,” Herndon said. “Don’t be too proud to say ‘I need something.’ You know, we are all in this together. When you hurt, I hurt. When Selma hurts, Northport hurts. We are here to help. We are taught to walk away a benevolence, to give back, and to help one another. And as long as I can keep doing it, we are going to continue to do it.”

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