“One Call, That’s All”
There is an attorney who advertises on billboards “One Call, That’s All.” I could say the same for the Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (BOHSEP), as well as numerous other community partners, when Bossier Schools faced its most recent in a year’s worth of challenges.
Never do I remember when Bossier Schools has had to cancel classes for an entire week due to wintry weather. Couple that with burst pipes, parish-wide water woes and boil orders and it could easily have been longer before students were able to return to a safe learning environment.
Enter Gene Barattini and Ian Snellgrove at BOHSEP. One call is all it took for them to spring into action and coordinate efforts with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, FEMA and the Louisiana National Guard. In less than 24 hours, they managed to locate and deliver more than 9,000 cases of bottled water to Bossier Schools. That equates to 250,000 bottles of water that came from around the state to ensure we could open our doors and the children in our care would have access to safe drinking water.
That is not where it ends. Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker and his administration graciously allowed the Bossier Civic Center to serve as a staging area for those many pallets of water, then allocated city manpower to help in loading truck after truck bound for schools throughout Bossier Parish.
And there is more. When Bossier Schools’ own trucks and trailers were not enough to immediately mobilize and get the water out to campuses, we phoned the Bossier Parish Police Jury for help. Again, one call, that’s all. The parish sent its heavy trucks and equipment.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not single out our own maintenance department at Bossier Schools, which is on-site at a moment’s notice whether there is a tornado, flood or winter weather. Our crews ventured out of their warm homes over the weekend and braved the snow and ice to quickly address water leaks and other issues at our schools before they became bigger problems. The same goes for our janitors and principals, who were on the scene for mitigation and to make sure our campuses were ready as quickly as possible to welcome back students and enable parents to return to work.
While it may seem as if the hits keep coming, I look at it another way. Bossier Schools is blessed to have community partners we can rely on in times of need and we are appreciative they have our backs. One call, that’s all.
Superintendent, Bossier Schools