There are many wonderful educators in Alabama. And in my book, Hope Zeanah, assistant superintendent of education in Baldwin County, is at the top of the list. She was principal of Elberta elementary for 16 years. Was Alabama Principal of the Year in 2013.
And even after more than 30 years in education, she is wide open every day and just as passionate about students as she ever was.
She is also one of the bravest, most courageous people I’ve ever known. Here’s why.
Three years ago her only son, Rex, died in his sleep because of his addiction to opioids. He was 33. I went to the funeral in a jam-packed church in Atmore. Hope, as any mother would be, was devastated beyond both words and emotions.
Recently Hope had the resolve to sit down with a reporter from WKRG in Mobile to tell the story of she and her son and the tragic journey he traveled for 15 years.. You can watch it here. And you should–and get others to also.
Rex loved basketball and got a scholarship to a small college. Unfortunately he hurt his back and soon was sucked up into the world of pain medicine. He became addicted to Oxycontin. Though he would be clean for months on end, the addiction would not turn him loose. Three years ago he had a job interview and was filled with anxiety about it.
After the interview, his mother says he searched for Oxycontin once again. Not able to find any, he got heroin instead. His autopsy showed it was laced with toxins.
Ironically, three days after his death, Hope learned he had gotten the job.
Hope never thought an addiction could happen in her family. But it did and in telling her story, Hope Zeanah wants others to know it may happen in their family too. Which is why she sat down with a reporter to relive the horror of three years ago and to encourage others to ask the right questions of doctors when drugs are involved.
Please watch the video. And give thanks for this mother and educator and her courage.