My Perspective: Tragedy brings out the ‘small town’ spirit

By Toni Walker
By now, I am sure all of you have heard of the horrific accident that occurred on March 23 that involved a Mount Pleasant Independent School District bus, an 18-wheeler, and a private vehicle
I have said from the onset that the bus driver should be considered a hero. 
Had he not been alert enough to swerve out of the way of the oncoming eighteen wheeler, this situation could have been much worse. Instead of two lives lost, there could have been many more, including students, who died as a result of this accident.
As a former coach, who drove buses for sport teams, I know how difficult it is to maintain focus on the road, especially late in the evening, after a long day at a sporting event. The fact that he was alert enough and swerved to avoid a head on collision is nothing short of heroic.
Through the days after the accident, there have many outpourings of condolences from the surrounding area. I have friends on my Facebook page from Atlanta, Queen City, Ore City, and even out near Dallas that have shared condolences for the community of Mount Pleasant. 
That is what small towns do. We band together to lift each other up in times of tragedy. 
From online condolences to wearing black and gold (Mount Pleasant school colors) in an effort to show support, the surrounding areas have really reached out to MPISD. Area schools gathered students together on March 24 to do a photo tribute to Mount Pleasant.
School colors mean a lot in small towns. IN times like this, however, we all bleed the same color. In this case, I have personally heard of at least two schools, as well as several individuals, who have donned black and gold, all in support of a grieving community. That, my friend is what small towns do. 
We stand by those in need, and lift them up anyway we know how. 
Even as students who were involved in the crash begin to return to school, there will be grieving and mourning in Mount Pleasant. As the track teams prepare to go to another track meet in the near future, their thoughts will turn back to that fateful night, where their lives were turned upside down. They will continue to mourn the loss of the assistant girls coach, and the memories of the scene will come back in vivid colors. 
From my perspective, however, there will be something else with those memories. 
The will also recall the support they received from surrounding communities. They will recall the outpouring of support through pictures and a sea of black and gold. And they will know they are loved. They will know what is great about living in an East Texas town. And they, one day, will be able to step up and do the same for a surrounding community.
But for now, were all are Mount Pleasant strong.

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