FALKVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There were literally thousands of packages on the UPS cargo plane that crashed in Birmingham this week. One box, in particular, was on its way to Falkville High School. It contained the championship rings the school’s track and field team earned earlier this year. .
Falkville High School track coach Keith Wilemon is also the school’s athletic director and assistant principal. “Winning a state championship never gets old,” he says. Wilemon knows a lot about winning. He’s produced five state championship teams and a dozen runner-up teams. Last year, Falkville High School went all the way again and brought home yet another state championship trophy in track.
The championship rings for the team members were ordered and were on their way. In fact, they got as close as Birmingham when tragedy struck. Their rings were among the packages on the ill-fated UPS cargo plane that crashed this week just shy of the Birmingham airport.
“I guess our first, initial reaction was yeah, we’re disappointed but then, you know, our kids realized the most important thing here is the fact two people lost their lives,” Wilemon told WHNT News 19.
Both pilots on the plane died in the crash. The investigation into what happened is still on-going. A statement from UPS says they are working to notify shippers who have lost packages as a result of a transportation accident.
“We’re still gonna be champions whether we got a ring or not. Our prayers and thoughts go out to those families and to UPS as an organization.”
There’s no complaints from the people at Falkville High School, they understand that what happened was an absolute tragedy, and they know the rings are going to eventually be replaced anyhow. What cannot be taken from them is the knowlege that one afternoon those high school students, that team, had the opportunity to hoist a championship trophy over their heads in celebration, in celebration that they were number one in the state.
WHNT News 19 confirmed this afternoon the company that made the rings is already working on replacements for them.