Hatton High School
Town Creek, Alabama
Delaina Greene wrote, “After a rainy winter and spring, April 30, 2013 was a spectacularly beautiful morning. As assistant principal at Hatton High School, I was the administrator on duty when I received a phone call that two of our students had been involved in a horrific car accident. I arrived at the scene to verify what the caller had already told me: one of our students – Caitlyn Martin – had been killed instantly, and her 14-year-old sister Alison was clinging to life.”
Ms. Greene goes on to describe how Alison was airlifted for emergency surgery. The next several days were filled with anguish as the Martin family prepared for the funeral of their daughter Caitlyn even as they prayed for the survival of Alison. During the funeral visitation, the swelling on Alison’s brain reached a dangerous point. Doctors performed another emergency procedure to relieve pressure.
Alison remained in a coma for six weeks. As she was beginning to emerge from the coma, she was moved to Shepherd Center in Atlanta for rehabilitation, where she received intensive therapy for eight weeks. Her father posted pictures and video to social media of her remarkable progress in recovery.
A few weeks after school began, Alison returned. She could walk on her own and communicate with gestures and short, one-word sentences. In her honor, her class overwhelmingly elected her as their 2013 Homecoming Attendant. Alison prepared as any other young lady for the big night. Ms. Greene wrote, “She wore a beautiful lavender evening gown for the community pep rally and parade, and she had matching purple streaks in her newly shortened hair.”
Alison continues to recover, regaining her speech and fine motor skills through sheer determination. Principal Brent Gillespie said, “The fact that she is here at school at all has had great impact on our entire student body, faculty and community. Every day with Alison is a special gift. She is an example of the frailty of life and the strength of the human spirit.”
Alison is a member of the National Beta Club, Native American Student Club and Leo Club. She is a former member of the Junior Beta Club and the Diamond Dolls at her school. She attends Hatton Church of Christ and is active in the youth group. In the chaos of her injuries and her sister’s death, Alison has maintained a 3.5 grade point average, ranked 10th in her class.
Ms. Greene concluded by saying, “If Alison Martin does not meet the definition of a hero, then the definition should be changed.” The selection committee concurred and, on behalf of her school and our state, Alison Martin is recognized as one of the 2015 Young Heroes of Alabama.