Jeff Cook of country band Alabama visits area schools

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 3/11/16

Jeff Cook of the popular county music band Alabama made a visit to Jasper on Thursday to visit area students.

Cook’s first stop was at T.R. Simmons Elementary School to see one of his fans — a fourth grader named Cameron Hagood.

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Jeff Cook of country band Alabama visits area schools

Posted

Jeff Cook of the popular county music band Alabama made a visit to Jasper on Thursday to visit area students.

Cook’s first stop was at T.R. Simmons Elementary School to see one of his fans — a fourth grader named Cameron Hagood.

All fourth grade students at T.R. were hosting a living wax museum on Thursday, in honor of historical figures from Alabama. Cameron dressed as one of his favorite country music singers, Jeff Cook, and his mom, Cindy Hagood, says her son took time to match Cook’s style.

“He did the research. ... He actually wanted to be Jeff,” Hagood said, saying her son dressed in black, made his hair wavy and created a 5 o’clock shadow to look like Cook for the living wax museum.

Cameron’s father is friends with Ken Randolph, a mutual friend of Cook’s. When Randolph told Cook his son was dressing up as him, the musician made plans to visit Jasper.

Cook toured the fourth grade classrooms at T.R. on Thursday, and listened as each child told a history of the person they were dressed as. He took photos with many students, including Cameron, and signed numerous autographs.

“His little face just lit up,” Cindy Hagood said, recalling her son’s reaction to meeting his idol. “He was so excited and so beside himself.”

Before leaving Jasper, Cook had one more stop to make.

Caden Thompson is a first-grade student at Valley Elementary School, and he happens to love Jeff Cook and the Alabama band.

Caden has cerebral palsy, but manages to strum on a guitar his size and sing along with popular Alabama hits, including his favorite, Tennessee River.

“I don’t know where he gets it. ... He carries his Alabama CD’s in his backpack every day,” Caden’s mom, Jennifer Lawson, said.

Lisa Cook, Jeff’s wife, is cousins with Jasper City Council President Jennifer Williams Smith, and Smith has worked with Caden on Jasper’s Dream Team, which is designed for those will all abilities to have an opportunity to play sports.

Smith said the visit was special for Caden because he traveled last summer to Jeff Cook Day in Guntersville, but the show was rained out. Caden was unware Cook was coming to his class at Valley, and before he entered the room, Smith had a special message for the first grader.

“I’ve seen lots of videos of you singing, right? And you like to play the guitar,” she said, squatting down to Caden’s desk. “Since you didn’t get to meet Jeff that day in Guntersville, Jeff just decided he would come here to Jasper to meet you in person.”

When Caden met Cook, he was shy and a bit overwhelmed, but the country singer rolled Caden in his wheelchair down the school hallway and signed the very guitar the young boy likes to play.

Once Cook interacted with Caden, he signed photos and posed for pictures with other students in Caden’s class, some of them with disabilities.

“He was telling the kids, ‘You can do anything,’” Smith said after observing Cook during his visit to Jasper. “He is very humble, he has the biggest heart. ... He is just precious. He’s just a sweet, sweet man who is very humble by where he is now and all he’s accomplished. He definitely is big about giving back.”