BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) -- The phrase 'We are Boaz' can be heard at the high school's football games and seen on t-shirts all over the Marshall County community, but now it has an even stronger meaning.
Early Wednesday morning teachers and staff from Boaz City Schools crowded into the high school's gym.
They were listening to professional speaker Dan Thurman.
The mood of the presentation was up-beat, the topic -- living life off-balance on purpose, embracing uncertainty, and looking at the positives.
At the heart of it all though, is something much bigger than getting ready for the beginning of the school year. It's to bring the community together during a tough situation.
"We're starting the year and our head football coach is in Houston, Texas dealing with a medical situation," says Superintendent of Boaz City Schools Mark Isley.
"Coach Whaley brings a lot to this staff and he's a dear friend of mine and I know him personally and professionally, and living off-balance without him will be hard, but he would want us to know that you keep working hard and you persevere through everything life gives you," Boaz City Schools employee Ashley Walls says, "So we're just praying for Coach Whaley and his family."
Officials and community members from surrounding cities sat in the crowd as well.
"You hate to see a difficult situation happen, but if it means it brings us all together as one and we have faith together that Coach Whaley, who has stated clearly will defeat this situation medically, and we believe he will," Isley says.