Heath teen spends Spring Break helping tornado victims in Alabama

Spring break service
Spring break service
Published:
Updated:

Try and wrap your head around this: You have the option to get away for Spring Break and go anywhere you'd like.

And, of all places, you choose Jacksonville, Alabama, two days after an EF-3 tornado ripped through the town.

It's exactly the Spring Break 14-year-old David Spencer chose.

"[I wanted] to take some of our vacation time and go help volunteer for the city of Jacksonville to help clean up," he said. "Because, it's the right thing to do."

Spencer, a student at the Ohio Distance and Electronic Learning Academy (OHDELA), says his meteorological passion has always been there.

"Just the fierceness of [weather], I guess," he said. "And that it's so powerful."

Four days before they left for Gulf Shores, Spencer was watching the Weather Channel, which turned into a conversation with his mom, Stephanie.

"And, he said 'There's going to be a potential for some really bad storms in Alabama'," she said.

Once the storms hit, Monday night, it was a done deal: The Spencer family was headed to Jacksonville, taking an hour and 15 minute detour from their original plans.

"Just mass devastation as far as you can see," he said. "We were just trying to figure out where to begin."

David, Stephanie and dad, David senior, spent two days in Jacksonville with wheelbarrows and rakes in hand and picking up debris and trash around streets and buildings.

Pictures documented their efforts.

Left to right: David Spencer, Sr., Stephanie Spencer and David Spencer, 14.

This picture was taken and posted to social media by Maci Allison, a Jacksonville resident.

"She asked if she could get a picture with us and we said 'Sure'," Stephanie said.

Four days later the post on Facebook has 44,000 reactions, 18,000 shares and 5,000 comments.

The Spencers don't want credit.

"There's so much work that still needs to be done," Stephanie said.

They say the real story is the people of Jacksonville.

"They were still happy," David said. "Even though they had went through this terrible disaster, they were still joyful."

A feel-good story out of a devastating situation all because people can't wrap their heads around the idea that a 14-year-old boy simply wanted to do "The right thing."