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Alabama Public Television Young Heroes of 2009

Carrie Parrish

Waterloo, Alabama
Waterloo High School

Waterloo High School senior Carrie Parrish has faced more tragedy over her young years than most people experience in a lifetime. The string of hardships began when her father was diagnosed with lupus, a connective tissue disease that causes the immune system to attack the body’s cells and tissue. With her father disabled, Carrie’s mother became the sole provider for the family, and much of the care for Carrie’s father fell to Carrie and her sister Brittney. In her sophomore year, Carrie underwent gall bladder surgery. Approximately two weeks later, when she and her sister were spending the night with a friend, the house caught fire and was completely gutted. In the same week, their own house also caught fire and was lost, and the family had no insurance to replace their belongings. The citizens of Waterloo rallied to the aid of both families. In the summer after Carrie’s junior year, her mother, tired from work, fell asleep at the wheel of her car. The accident left Carrie’s mother in a coma. Today, she remains in a semi-comatose state, her care provided by a nursing home. As Carrie’s senior year started, her father passed away.

Despite these devastating blows, Carrie has refused to succumb to self-pity or bitterness. A former catcher on the Lady Cougars softball team, she continues to build her future—maintaining grades and serving as a sideline assistant for the football team. “I cannot think of any other student that I have taught or coached in my fifteen years who has had to endure as much as Carrie,” said coach and teacher Bill Cox, adding, “And I do not know of anyone more deserving of this award.”

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