Tuscaloosa’s ‘ultimate first responder’ teaching next generation life lessons 11 years after April 27, 2011 tornado

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 11:27 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - At Alberta Park in Tuscaloosa, you’ll find a memorial honoring all the first responders who came to the rescue on April 27, 2011. Eleven years later, we caught up with someone known as the ultimate first responder who saved many lives on April 27.

Robert Reed has always been a helper. We met up with him Wednesday helping the T-Town Gladiators football team prepare for their upcoming season.

“I enjoy being around kids. Now I got me a whole squad of kids to be around. I love it,” Reed said.

Eleven years ago, Reed helped save dozens of lives after the April 27th tornado ripped through the Holt community. After rescuing his fiancé and kids at the time, Reed heard the screams from the heavily damaged Crescent Ridge mobile home park.

“Everybody was hollering ‘please, help me, please help me’. So I told her, just stay here. I’m going to go help everybody else. Just be patient,” Reed said.

Reed then ran and started pulling as many people as he could out of the rubble. He’s credited with saving dozens of lives on April 27th. Reed is known as the ultimate first responder. His harrowing story was even featured in a documentary called “April’s Hero”.

But he doesn’t consider himself a hero. “I see myself as a person who tried to help others,” Reed said.

Reed says he was raised to think about others first. Reed, who is the commissioner and a head coach of a youth football league, continues to help the next generation and teaches them life lessons along the way. Here’s a little of what he teaches.

“Make sure that the name that you create for yourself is a powerful name and everybody would like to be around you at all times,” Reed said.

Reed has definitely made a name for himself.

All these years later, he still hears the screams for help from people needed to be rescued. He’s getting treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and says if you go through something traumatic, don’t be afraid to reach out for help for yourself.


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