Fire destroys Alabama high school’s band concession stand on Thanksgiving morning

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CLEVELAND, Ala. (WIAT) – The Golden Force Marching Band at Cleveland High School lost its concession stand in a Thanksgiving morning fire, losing its main source of funding.

It’s some of the worst news Cleveland High School students and the community could get, they have said. Many people are stepping up, however, and helping by donating trailers, food and money to give back to the school what it has given to the community over the years.

“I heard so many sirens, fire trucks and ambulances,” senior Lofton Morphis said. “It was kind of scary to wake up and have my mom like it’s on fire, because you never want to hear something that you love be on fire.”

It’s not the wakeup call senior Lofton Morphis or any Panther wanted to hear the day before the school’s biggest game of the year.

“It’s definitely going to be a different dynamic tomorrow for our fans and everything, but I definitely think we’ll make it for sure and it won’t stop our amazing game that we will have,” Morphis said.

Band Booster President Ray Makofsky is still in shock from the loss. He stopped by early Thursday morning to restock the coolers with his son.

“We saw the smoke coming out and pulled up real quick and the coach came running out and said it’s bad,” Makofsky said.

After more than 25 years, the concession stand is now boarded and locked up: a complete loss after generating most of the funds for the marching band.

“We use it to buy equipment, sometimes instruments that we can’t normally get through the school,” Makofsky said.

This includes the new uniforms the band was hoping to purchase for next season.

Now, only the charred and melted memories remain.

“We’ll be able to recover from it eventually, but right now as it sits, we’ll be able to play tomorrow night,” junior Luis Maldonado said.

Makofsky said he is counting his blessings following the fire.

“It couldn’t have happened on a better day, Thanksgiving,” he said. “I can’t give thanks enough to everyone who has really just stood up to the plate.”

Cleveland is ready to give the band everything it needs to succeed.

“I know without a doubt that the community is going to jump to our poor concession stand’s rescue because that’s just how our community is,” Morphis said.

Cleveland takes on Mars Hill Bible in the semifinal game that will be held Friday at 7 p.m.

The fire is still under investigation.

If you want to donate to the band, you can write a check to Cleveland High School Band and drop it at the school office or mail it to 71 High School St. in Cleveland.

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