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Falkville High starts year with air conditioned gym

By By Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Falkville High School junior Paige Mayer was presented the first True Blue Devil Award for her assistance in the air conditioning of the Tom Drake Gymnasium.
The much-needed and long-awaited improvement project was completed during the summer break and welcomed at a student assembly at the first day of school on Monday.
With cool air streaming from two royal blue wind socks overhead, Principal Sue Wood introduced Mayer as “the one student being at the right place at the right time” to make the air conditioning of the gum happen. She was then presented an engraved plaque and a $100 cash award in recognition of her school support.
Wood also presented an appreciation plaque to Connie Puckett, who spearheaded a yearlong fundraising effort on behalf of getting the gym air-conditioned. In addition, Shane Taylor, service manager for Early Services, Inc. the installer, presented an award to Joseph Sztenderowicz, project manager for Lockheed Martin Company’s Remote Facilities Operations in Huntsville.
Wood said the school raised about $41,000 for the air conditioning system thanks to the help of Sen. Arthur Orr, Rep. Ronald Grantland, town of Falkville and Joe Wheeler Co-Op. However, the best estimates the school received for the system ranged between $125,000 and $150,000.
This is where Paige entered the picture.
She and her father were picking up some computer chairs and filing cabinets for the school at Lockheed-Martin’s Huntsville location early last school year when she dropped the name of her school as being in need of air conditioning for the gym.
With that said, he began the process of seeking approval from higher company officials to donate 50 tons of A/C units that were being removed from a Lockheed-Martin building to Falkville High School.
Subsequently, Early Services of Decatur, a trusted contractor used by Lockheed-Martin, was called on to handle the installation.
Jim Early, CEO and Matthew Sharp, director of sales and services for Early Services and Lockheed -Martin’s Dickie Sammet, senior materials control specialist, were also present for the presentations.
Puckett thanked parents of students, coaches, gym class students and custodians for their help in fundraising as well as preparations for the installation.