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Piedmont High student receives escort of a lifetime

Piedmont High School students shout and cheer as they greet Greg Floyd who is being escorted to school by Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey and a convoy of Hometown Heroes volunteers on motorcycles. (Bottom photo) Greg, (second from the left), who is battling Leukemia, wears his Team Greg t-shirt during the Hometown Heroes event in which he was honored. Also pictured, from left, are School Resource Officer David Ludlow, Piedmont principal Dr. Jonathan Tyson and Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey.

A sea of yellow shirts, bandanas and face-painted 10th-graders and their teachers flooded the sidewalks and entrance at Piedmont High School on Sept. 15, as shouts and cheers greeted the arrival of Greg Floyd, a sophomore battling Leukemia. 

Greg was brought to school by Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey, accompanied by a convoy of motorcycles driven by volunteers and area law enforcement. This unprecedented and memorable event was made possible by the non-profit organization Hometown Heroes.Prior to getting into the sheriff’s car, Greg said he was nervous and excited. “I’ve seen these before, but I’ve never been a part of it.”

Upon arrival at his school, Greg waved to fellow classmates who were lined up outside clapping, cheering and chanting. School Resource Officer David Ludlow opened the car door and he and Piedmont principal Dr. Jonathan Tyson welcomed Greg to school. Students and family then surrounded Greg, offering greetings and hugs.

“Are you ready to go to school?” Tyson asked, as the students cheered. Hundreds of 10th-grade students shook Greg’s hand as he entered the building.

Being the focus of all the attention didn’t seem to be a problem for the 16-year-old, who smiled as he greeted his fellow classmates. “Greg is very outgoing and enjoys being around his friends,” Tyson explained.

Greg had been surprised that morning with the news that he would be escorted to school in a motorcycle procession that would travel along Independence Boulevard and ultimately end at his school.

The motorcade began at Texas Roadhouse in Matthews earlier in the day, when the Hometown Heroes organization honored families of children stricken by cancers. Approximately 70 to 80 volunteers with Hometown Heroes rode on their motorcycles behind Greg and Sheriff Cathey.

“Hometown Heroes has done a lot for us,” Greg said. “I can not say enough about them. I’m really happy they’re doing this for all of us. They always have fun. Big kids helping little kids.”

His mom, Sara, and younger sister, Madison, were on hand to enjoy the event with Greg.

“I’m excited for Greg to get to do this and especially because we were able to keep it from him,” said he mom, Sara Floyd. “This is an awesome day that they’re doing this for Greg. I can not say enough about Hometown Heroes they’ve been awesome, they’re really like family.”

Hometown Heroes President Donnie Dixon said he created the organization as a result of his experiences in law enforcement. Prior to his retirement from the Monroe Police Department, he and fellow officers “adopted” children with debilitating illnesses, mentoring them and becoming an active part of their daily lives.  

As time passed, more and more children were taken in by the organization with an increasing number of law enforcement agencies participating. Today, more than 150 children are being helped by officers from eight counties.

“The school drop-off is encouraging for the kids. It’s like a victory dance,” Dixon said.  

Not only was this day memorable for Greg, it was also a learning experience for all Piedmont High School students, “I hope this event continues to develop character for the students and also make them appreciative of their health and wellness,” said Tyson.

Written by: Becky Swiger, 
Instructional Technology Facilitator
 Technology Services
Posted: Sep 24, 2015 by Deb Bledsoe

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