Toomer’s For Tuscaloosa featured on NBC Nightly News; organizer says Iron Bowl rivalry forever changed

On Saturday, Warren Tidwell wore an Auburn shirt, an Alabama hat, and his heart on his sleeve.

Warren Tidwell, the 32-year-old Opelika auto service center manager who organized Toomer’s For Tuscaloosa, arrived in Tuscaloosa early Saturday morning to begin turning the Facebook-fueled momentum and compassion of his grassroots organization into real world relief.

And he’s convinced that the sight of Auburn and Alabama fans working side by side to restore a semblance of normalcy to the town — a scene broadcast to the nation Saturday night on NBC Nightly News —will change the Iron Bowl rivalry forever.

“We just had the security event group from Bryant-Denny Stadium come over to help us out,” Tidwell said Saturday evening. “I think this is going to offset the Harvey Updyke thing.”

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Tidwell has first hand experience in disaster relief; he assisted in recovery efforts in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and even designed and implemented a web-based severe weather alert system for residents in an unincorporated community in Mississippi. He’s received assistance from others with similar experience, including Holly Hart, an Auburn graduate from Birmingham, who contacted him via the Toomer’s For Tuscaloosa Facebook page.

“Holly definitely needs some kudos, she’s been incredible,” Tidwell said.

Several Toomer’s For Tuscaloosa trucks packed with supplies are leaving for Tuscaloosa Sunday morning. Tidwell is asking any Auburn resident or fan who wants to help receive and distribute supplies to go to Five Points Baptist Church in Northport, where the group is coordinating its efforts.

He says the support from Auburn fans is bringing real results, as well as sending a message.

“I’m not joking when I say this, but I don’t think fans of either team are ever going to think of the other team the same way.”

Keep Reading:

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