Friday, October 13, 2017

Homecoming week..............

Great to be home this week in North Alabama for Lawrence County's Homecoming week. 
Cooler temperatures (compared to Florida's), seeing old friends, a beautiful Homecoming court, and a big football win for the Red Devils. Go Big Red.


Sunday, June 04, 2017

Mr and Mrs Chris Terry...............

Congratulations and Best Wishes to Chris and Amanda as they begin this journey of life together.
May God Bless!


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Congratulations LCHS Class of 2017.............

You were such a wonderful class to work with. My best wishes to  Each and Every one of you.
May God bless you all!


Friday, March 31, 2017

LCHS Prom 2017..................

I enjoyed a wonderful "Enchanted Evening Under the Stars" with the LCHS Senior Class of 2017 tonight at the Marriot Hotel in Florence AL.
Everyone looked Marvelous, and a great time was had by all.


Friday, December 09, 2016

Warm in the Red Devil stadium..............

It was 60 degrees when we left Pensacola Thursday afternoon; woke up to 22 degrees in Moulton this morning. Brrrrrr
But I found a warm spot tonight, watching the Red Devils JV Girls, JV Boys, Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys heat up the court against area foe, Brooks High School.
I was very impressed with the Devils play. Good job Devils.


Friday, October 14, 2016

A special kind of night................

While waiting to take pictures of the Homecoming court. I was talking to Coach Dutton, (who preformed double duties tonight, coaching the team and escorting his beautiful daughter at halftime), I asked him "could we win the game?" He was straight up with me. He said he had "watched a lot of film", and it was going to be tough. But it "was do-able." Then he added, "It will take a special kind of night."
Well that's what we had.
A Special kind of Night.
Congratulations to Coach Dutton and the Red Devils on their 42-20 Homecoming win. Congratulations to all the lovely young ladies on the Homecoming Court and especially to our beautiful Homecoming Queen 2016, Miss Taylor Lemay.

Its good to be home.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Good luck Devils! Go Big Red 2016........

Wishing all the Devils, the Players, Coaches,  Cheerleaders, Band members, Flag corps, Drum line, Red Hots, Screaming Demons, and everyone involved, A GREAT 2016 Season.

Good to see the boys in action vs Hatton in the Jamboree, August 19th. Go Big Red.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Congratulations to the LCHS Class of 2016.....

Good Luck to you all! It was wonderful to work with each of you. I wish you well.


Thursday, April 07, 2016

It's been a great week in Lawrence County...........

photographing the LCHS Senior Who's Who, all the clubs and organizations, Class Officers, Mr and Miss LCHS, the LCHS JROTC teams, the Track Team, and some LCHS Softball game action shots. I've certainly enjoyed myself.


Sunday, April 03, 2016

Friday, November 20, 2015

Good Luck LCHS Red Devils Basketball...............

Wishing you all a great season. I got to meet all the teams Wed, on picture day, and watch all the Devils win their home opener against EL, in the new gym Thursday night. Go Big Red.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

LCHS Cross Country portrait Day...........

The Cross Country Season is just underway and I want to wish all the runners well this year. Especially our 6 seniors. Bring home another blue trophy. Good Luck Devils.


LCHS Band portraits day............

I got to meet and work with the LCHS Band Monday. A great bunch of kids that played so well Friday night, and performed well. I was really impressed. The Red Hots are amazing. I love the LCHS Band. Have a great season.

Got to see the #1 ranked Lady Devils in action Monday....

and they were just dominating. Wonderful group of young ladies. I did their portraits last week and got to meet them all. I wish you well. Good Luck Lady Devils. Go Big Red.


Friday, September 11, 2015

A True Homecoming..............

Getting to be home this year for the LCHS Homecoming meant a lot to me. Spending time photographing the kids during this happy time for them makes me feel good.
It was great to see so many friends, some I haven't seen in many years.
It was great to meet the lovely young ladies on the homecoming court and class beauties.
It's just great to feel all that excitement and energy and Red Devil Pride.
Congratulations Red Devils on the big Homecoming win! 40-17
Go Big Red

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Working with the guys today.................

Here's just a few of the LCHS Senior 2016 guys we worked with today. A really good day.


Monday, September 07, 2015

Off to a great start with the LCHS Class of 2016........

It's so good to be home and at work with the Class of 2016. Here are just a few of my favorites from this weekend. I look forward to working with all the guys this week. It's going to be a great season of senior portraits.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

I am saddened to learn of the passing of one of my 2008 LCHS Seniors Anthony Brackins. Such a nice young man.
My thoughts and condolences to the Brackins Family.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Drag racing in Atmore, Alabama

I took a ride up to Atmore, Alabama Saturday night to see Mike "Tut" Turrentine put his Camaro back on the track at the Atmore Dragway, his first time on the track since we made the transfer to Pensacola from Courtland. He split the money in the finals. Good job.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

LCHS Prom 2014............

It was great to get to come back home last Friday and cover the LCHS Prom. We all had a great time. Good to see you all!

Leadout Pictures can be purchased here;

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Pensacola Mari Gras Parade 2014...............

Witnessed my first Mardi Gras parade ever yesterday in downtown Pensacola. 
I've covered the Moulton Christmas parade and the LCHS Homecoming parade for the last 13 years, but I got to say, these folks have got it figured out!
Fun day. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Recovery Boilers Shutdown.................

I don’t know much about the boilers, and I’m not as emotionally attached to the boilers as the paper machines. But I do know, (and the operators on the boilers will remind you right quick), that you can’t run a paper machine without steam.
On November 24th I went over and talked with boiler operator Tony Evans about the shut down of the #2 Recovery Boiler. Shutting down a boiler is not like a paper machine where there’s a siren and the sheet breaks and the dryer cans come to a halt. There’s a lot more involved in shutting down a boiler.

Tony has worked on the boilers since 1990. He showed me on the reports when the first liqour gun was taken out at 11:20pm on the 23rd, then the second, the third, and then the last liqour gun was removed at 12:03 am on November 24th, (that was 12:03 on the 23rd in papermill time. The new day starts at 6am).

Tony explained, after the liqour guns are removed, the boiler is fed natural gas until the bed burns out. Then the gas guns are pulled out one by one,  the last was pulled at 8am on Sunday the 24th. The boiler was officailly “off-line”. Tony showed me a trend graph on the computer where a green line fell straight to zero. It was no longer producing steam. It was in effect, dead.  

The #2 recovery boiler was first fired on Oct 4th 1979. I heard a great story while talking to Tony on Nov 25th 2013, I heard that when the #2 Recovery Boiler was to start up, the ignitors wouldn’t fire, so the gas guns were turned on and a mop was set on fire and threw into the boiler and “Whoosh”! A dragon was born.

While early on in my career I learned paper machines were refered to as ladies, like ships, boilers were generally refered to as “Dragons”. Living , lava spewing, sulfer spitting, firebreathing dragons.

For a lot of years, after starting at the mill, I just heard the word ‘Powerhouse”. I didn’t know what that meant. When our machine was forced to shut down unexpectantly, I heard the old hands say “the powerhouse shut us down” or, as I remember one day,  standing in the control room of the #31 machine I heard someone ask our machine manager LaRue Amos, “Why can’t we start up Abe?”, and he pointed at the red phone on the wall (a direct hotline to the powerhouse) and impatiently screamed, “I’ma waiting on ‘em to give me some steam!” 

In 2000, when IP announced the shut down of the #31 machine and that all of us the #31 department would be displaced and have to “bump” to other departments, somebody said we needed to try and go to the powerhouse, “they made more money.”. So I went with a friend “across the tracks” and checked it out one night. As we entered the building, the walls were literally shaking, and ground was rumbling. We walked up the stairs to the second floor and watched workers dressed in full flame retardent gear dodge smelt flung from the  spouts with a vengence. Sulfer burned our noses. Somebody said, if you feel something drip on you, that’s green liqour and it will eat you up, wash it off with vinegar. Fast. 

I left that night and thought “I don’t care how much they pay them, it’s not enough.” 

While talking to Tony on November 24th I heard another story from one of the original #2 start up team members Morris Williams, he told, ‘Hell, they nearly burnt this boiler down before it ever started up.” He said, “well, while it was still under construction, they had a turpentine leak and it was leaking into the drain system. A contractor lit a acetylene torch and threw his match into the drain. And it all went “Whoosh”. He pointed to the ceiling and said, “Donnie Garth was on the 13th floor and was trapped.  There was so much black smoke billowing up he couldn’t get down.  A crane operator ran his headache ball up there and Donnie jumped on it like a flea on a dog and rode it all the way to the ground.” 

I had to follow up on that story, so I called Donnie up on the phone. I said, “Donnie, I want to hear the real story about this fire and you riding that headache ball down.”

Donnie laughed for a full 30  seconds. He said, “man, I always tell everybody that I jumped out on that ball and waved at the people on the ground as I was riding down. But to tell the truth. Man they sent a basket up there, about 2 foot wide, and it was swinging around and I was afriad to grab on to it. They Finally lowered it back down and then sent it up with a guy in it and he grabbed on to the beams and told me to get in.” He laughed some more, he said, “Brooks, I latched onto that thing so tight my knuckles were white and when that operator dropped it my eyes were squinced so tight that when we got to the ground I didn’t even know it. They was saying ‘let go Donnie, you on the ground now. Let go’.”
We laughed across the phone connection together. He said, “man that was back in ‘bout 78 I think.”

Tony told me that the #2 Recovery was a “sweet” running boiler. (If there is such a thing). “As long as you kept it clean, it would sit here and make 450 pound steam all day, day in and day out.” He added, “a boiler is just like a human, it’s got to have air to breathe.”

He showed me on the computer screens that day where they were in the process of a “water-wash”, and he told me it would be pumped full of a mixture of water and a perservative. “

I asked him, “what are we perserving it for?”

Tony just shook his head no, he didn’t know. But we both knew this dragon would never breathe fire again.


The #3 Recovery boiler  

The #3 Recovery boiler was first fired in 1991, it was about the tallest building on the mill site, and it was in essence,  alive. The first time I ever entered the building was in 2008 when I went to work in the High Pressure Powerhouse Maintenance crew.

The first day I was assigned a job in the building, myself and a couple of other maintenance workers approached the building, and the walls were violently shaking. Somebody said it was “alittle upset”. I could feel the ground rumbling underneath my steel-toe workboots. It sounded like a war was going on inside. Explosions boomed one right after the other. I asked my co workers if it was safe to go in there. One of them pointed at a red beacon on the wall and told me if that light started flashing and a bunch of sirens went off to get the hell out and run as fast as I could. I ask him which way I should run and he said, just AWAY, any direction would be good.

The second floor of the #3 Recovery boiler, (where the smelt spouts ooze melted lava into the dissolving  tank) is the only place in the whole paper mill where I saw grown men scream like little girls and run blind through sulfer smoke for the exits.

One day me and Grassy were on the top of the recovery boiler and I was welding down some grating on a catwalk. I stopped my weld and raised my hood and told him  “its awful hard to weld on something that’s moving.” The whole building was swaying. We could hear and feel the explosions below.

He pointed out across the bluish green Tennesse river and said, “Brooks, they say if this thing blows up, it would take a week for the river to fill up the hole it’s  gonna leave.”

I looked up and followed the steam vapors from the stacks into the blue sky, “Reckon where that would put us?”

He held on to his hardhat and leaned his head back, craning his neck as far as it would go and said, “well, they say the stratosphere starts about 5 miles up,” he lowered his head and brushed some ash off his sleeve, “ I figure whats left of us would end up somewhere up there.”

I lowered my hood and tried to weave my weld back and forth with the buildings sway. 

I worked in the High Pressure crew for 3 years and noticed that almost every worker in the powerhouse crews carried a visible burn scar, whether it be on an arm, neck or face, that somewhere in the past, a glob of fire had somehow found its way behind a face shield or through a gap in protective clothing, or simply burned its way through to find flesh. .

As I sit and write this now, I know each one of those brave men and women in the powerhouse crews bears a new scar, one that’s not visible on the outside, its located right in  the middle of their hearts. 

On Feb 4th, 2014 at 9:35 am the #3 Recovery boiler went off line for good. Its high pressure steam no longer needed in a mill with 5 dead paper machines..

It’s quite there now. A dragon sleeps.  

To all those that have tended these boilers all the years, my hat’s off to you. You were a brave, determined and dedicated employee to come in everyday and do what you did for a living. There can never be enough thank yous said.  

Good luck to you all, and God bless.


Greg Brooks


Thursday, February 06, 2014

LCHS Baseball 2014.......................

Back a long time ago, when I was just starting out, there was a little skinny outfielder named Denton Bowling that played for the LCHS Red Devils Baseball team. His momma said, "If he gets in the game, take his picture for me."
Now Denton is all grown up and is the Head Coach of the 2014 LCHS Red Devils Baseball team.
Last Saturday we enjoyed a nice warm day and I took the team portraits and shot some of the Red vs White game. Good luck Denton and the LCHS Red Devils. Have a great season.

It was nice and warm, but windy. Which made it tuff to photograph the lovely but long haired LCHS  Diamond Dolls. But we got it done. Have a fun year ladies.
Greg Brooks

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Representing Lawrence County.............

Good Luck today Taylor Hjelm!!!
Distinguished Young Women of Alabama
We are proud of you!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve at Greg Brooks Photography........

I was visited today by 4 of my former LCHS Seniors, All in the US Navy now!
Caitlin and Cassie Currier, Skyler Bennett and Brittany Rutherford. Caitlin is in for the holidays from Virginia, Cassie from Pensacola, Skyler from Hawaii and Brittany from San Diego.

Cassie and Skyler are married now, and Caitlin is engaged to Thomas Talbot, who is from Virginia. I asked Brittany if she was engaged or married and she said, "I'm working on it."
I told them all how proud I was of them. "Moulton's own little Navy division." God Bless ya'll. Thank you for serving our country.

Also visiting this week from Virginia is Stephen Williams. He is a senior at Forest Park HS in Virginia. His mom, LCHS graudate Tammy Steele Williams brought him by for portraits this morning. What a fine looking young man he as grown to be.
Merry Christmas everyone!