Elite PT December 2018

How One Man Saved Hundreds of Animals Hurricane Hero Tony Alsup

In the wake of destruction, it’s easy to focus on self-preservation. After all, fight-or-flight instincts are hard-wired into our brains so we can survive dangerous situations. But while fear drives the actions of many in times of chaos, there are a few who find greater strength in compassion. Tony Alsup considered the potential devastation of Hurricane Florence as he sat comfortably in his home in Greeneville, Tennessee. Rather than sit back and watch, the truck driver packed up an out-of-commission school bus he’d bought and set off to South Carolina with one goal in mind: to save as many animals as possible. Stopping by every shelter he found along the coast, Alsup rescued over 60 cats and dogs in both North and South Carolina and took them to Foley, Alabama.

The heroic efforts of Alsup saved the lives of many animals, but it wasn’t the first time he’d rushed into danger for a good cause. He’d originally purchased the school bus, which he turned into Noah’s Ark last year, to save animals in Texas and Florida as Hurricane Harvey pounded the Gulf Coast. When he finished there, his mission shifted to helping animals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. It’s said that character is defined by the way someone acts when no one is watching. Many people heard of Alsup’s bravery after the devastation of Florence, but as news stories turned to sports, politics, and business, America slowly moved on. Victims of the hurricane who lacked supplies received less national

attention, but more than a month later, Alsup’s commitment to the cause was as strong as ever. Living out of the back of the bus for weeks, he drove pets out of the persistent flooding and convoyed shipments of desperately needed supplies to the coastal Carolina towns. You can follow Tony’s commitment on Facebook. He’s not asking for money or fame; he’s just a person with a heart to serve, using social media to promote awareness about those who desperately need our help. If you’re wondering what drives such a person, you can find it written at the bottom of every update he posts: “Love y’all, mean it.”

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