ATHENS, Ala. -- “Once My Band, Always My Band!” is how the East Limestone High School Marching Indians end each practice and performance. This heartfelt sentiment was proven through the actions of the community on Sunday.
News of the theft of the band’s trailer loaded with instruments and equipment was shared more than 9,000 times on Facebook. One of those shares yielded a priceless return thanks to a former Pinson Valley High School band parent.
We spoke with the man who spotted the truck, Larry Calhoun. Calhoun said he was driving and spotted the band’s trailer along with the Ford F-250 truck in an industrial park. Later that evening, he saw the band’s post on his Facebook page and immediately realized what he had seen and reported it to the Birmingham Police Department.
Calhoun noticed the trailer because Pinson Valley and East Limestone share a mascot, the Indians. “When I saw that trailer sitting off in that industrial parking lot, I knew it wasn’t right,” said Calhoun, “God put me in the right place at the right time.”
The band's truck and trailer were stolen from a hotel lot in Birmingham where the band was staying after a competition on Saturday night. About $225,000 worth of band equipment was inside.
While a formal inventory will not be conducted until the trailer is returned to the band, it has been confirmed that a generator, purchased this year, and some instruments have been taken.
The theft occurred only hours after the band swept the awards, winning Best in Show, at the 40th annual West Alabama Marching Competition in Gordo, Ala.
Jennifer Janzen, the band director, posted a call on social media to share the news.
Limestone County School Superintendent Tom Sisk called the incident outrageous and asked for the community to send their support to the band.
Janzen thanks everyone for their for the phone calls, texts and messages she received about the incident and for helping get the word out.
Band boosters reached out to the community for support of the band program by starting a You Caring fund. "While the instruments do not make our band -- the loss is devastating to our program. We need your help. We pledge to make music with every dollar you donate to help us rebuild. Please accept our heartfelt gratitude for your generosity."