Vickie Harris created and runs Music City Animal Rescue, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that rescues abandoned, abused or neglected animals in and around the Middle Tennessee area. Music City Animal Rescue is a foster based home network of highly dedicated individuals that care for the animals in their own homes until they can find their forever families. This network is dedicated to the complete care and placement process. From the moment an animal comes into their program, it is treated as part of a family. They are socialized not only with other humans, but with cats and dogs at the appropriate time. They never euthanize to make room for more and all of their foster homes are dedicated to seeing each and every animal through their journey to their forever home.
My Friend's House
This month we celebrate Kiley Maupin who has spent the last 15 years serving at risk youth in need at My Friend’s House. As the Direct Support Services Manager Kiley helps ensure compliance with programs and services, all while supporting and staff and residents with structure and understanding. But beyond the policies and training, most importantly, Kiley is a mentor and shining example to the vulnerable youth who call My Friend's House home.
Over the years Kiley has worked with hundreds of young men showing them what it means to take responsibility for your actions; how to have patience with others; how to behave appropriately in the public; and the importance of serving the community. But one of his driving motivations is teaching the residents the difference between being a male and being a man.
One My Friend’s House’s former residents stated it best, “We talked about why it was right to own up to our mistakes and how in doing that you grow into a man. I learned a lot spiritually and a lot clicked with my life situation. I’m very thankful for Mr. Kiley and the opportunity to be at My Friend’s House.”
Debbie Noland is the backbone of the Nolensville Food Pantry. As the pantry’s primary coordinator Debbie works to feed those in need. Learn more about the work Debbie and all of the incredible volunteers are doing at NFP.
Honored for Lifetime of Service and Work with Children In Need
Marianne Schroer has spent a lifetime caring for others and being of service to her community. This extends beyond her 30+ years of experience working as a therapist. Marianne is the type of person who sees people, is driven to help others and shows up to help in the hardest of situations to lend a helping hand.
For the past five years Marianne has helped take CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to the next level, fundraising and creating a community awareness around the work CASA does and helping to recruit advocates for the 25+ new cases a month.
CASA advocates for abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system. Their vision is for every child to be in a safe and permanent home.
For her work with CASA and a lifetime of service she was recently named a Darrell Waltrip Automotive Group Hometown Hero. As a part of her award the Darrell Waltrip Automotive Group made a $500 donation to CASA in Marianne’s honor.
CASA relies on donations from fundraising events including the upcoming Voices for Children to be held May 2, 2019 at Graystone Quarry. To learn more about Voice for Children and how you can help CASA visit williamsoncountycasa.org.
Sarah Hart founded the Nashville Chapter of Achilles International, a nonprofit whose sole purpose is to partner athletes with and with out disabilities so that all can enjoy the sport of running and participating in running activities and events. Specialized programs include the Achilles Freedom Team which serves wounded military personnel and veterans; Achilles Kids which provides training, race opportunities, and an
in-school program for children with disabilities; the Achilles Para-triathlon Team which expands our running program into biking and swimming; Achilles Chapter workouts, plus our signature race Hope & Possibility® which takes place in several cities worldwide.
To learn more about Achilles International and what the Nashville chapter is doing here in middle Tennessee
Donate Life TN
Donate Life TN has tasked themselves with the important job of educating Tennesseans on the importance of registering to become an organ and tissue donor.
On average, 20 people die every day from the lack of available organs for transplant. One deceased donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and can save and enhance more than 100 lives through the lifesaving and healing gift of tissue donation.
Established in 2009, Tucker’s House helps families determine what modifications are needed in a home to make it a safer environment for a child and those who care for the child. After the determination has been made, Tucker’s House performs the necessary work. Construction may range from installing a wheel chair ramp to removing carpeting and replacing it with hardwood flooring enabling easier wheel chair mobility. Based on the needs of the client, renovations often include the widening of doorways, remodeling of bathrooms, including curb-less showers and roll-under sinks.
Those Living With Muscular Dystrophy & Related Diseases
The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has made it their mission to create hope and answers for families living with muscular dystrophy and related diseases that take away physical strength and mobility. These families are at the heart of everything MDA offers- from clinics to prepare and train them to care for their loved ones to assistance getting them the equipment they may need in their home.
Stephen Huff spent his life as an athlete. He played baseball in college and then played in the pros. He never smoked. He took care of himself. All of these are just some of the reasons it was so shocking that at the age of 29 he was diagnosed with stage IV inoperable lung cancer.
As Stephen goes through treatment he his wife Emily have decided to put this horrific experience to work with the creation of The Huff Project. The Huff Project is committed to raising the awareness around lung cancer, destroying the negative stigma that's associated with it, and investing in innovative research to continue the development of successful treatment options.
For over a decade Gail Powell has served as the Executive Director of High Hopes Development Center. During this time she has played a key role in helping High Hopes expand and grow to serve the high demand for the inclusive preschool education and physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapies which they offer.
High Hopes Development Center is a local non-profit that began in 1984 with two integrated programs: an inclusive preschool that educates children with and without special needs from six weeks to six years old and an outpatient therapy clinic providing speech, physical, occupational, and feeding therapies to children aged birth to 21 years.
"She empowers her staff and Board of Directors to positively impact the lives of children and families and she leads by example," said Kristin Garner, Pediatric Therapy Clinic Director, High Hopes Development Center. Her professionalism, compassion, organization, and dedication help her to be an excellent leader not only at High Hopes but also in the community."
MDA Providing Hope For Families Those Living With Muscular Dystrophy & Related Diseases
The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has made it their mission to create hope and answers for families living with muscular dystrophy and related diseases that take away physical strength and mobility. These families are at the heart of everything MDA offers- from clinics to prepare and train them to care for their loved ones to assistance getting them the equipment they may need in their home.
Agape Animal Rescue is dedicated to finding forever homes for abandoned and displaced dogs while educating the public to be more responsible pet owners. From the moment dogs enter their foster program, Agape is dedicated to making a positive difference in these dogs’ lives, emotionally, socially, physically, in order to aid in a smooth transition into their forever homes. While in foster care they work to teach their foster dogs basic obedience skills, including proper leash manners and friendly house manners through their Foster Care Training Program. And they strive to match their dogs with the best family possible, working through as many applications as necessary to find a home that offers the dog the most fulfilling, enriched life.
Six years ago husband and wife team Chris and Elaine Whitney created One Generation Away, a nonprofit organization that grew from their dream that we can eliminate poverty in our lifetime. OGA provides emergency food service to those in need via mobile pantries, as well as through partnerships with hospitals, social workers, schools, law enforcement, churches, civic groups, and many others who want to wipe hunger off the face of America. While they are based in Williamson county and focus their efforts primarily in Middle Tennessee, OGA also feeds families across the country. “It’s shocking to me how many families in our community go to bed hungry every night,” said Waltrip. “We are proud to support One Generation Away and their efforts with our Drive Away Hunger Challenge and with this Hometown Heroes award.”
When Mary Ann Parks moved to middle Tennessee nine years ago to be close to her children she immediately began to look for a place where she could be of service in her new community. She found just that place at The Well Outreach in Spring Hill, Tennessee, serving on their prayer team, in the pantry and working at their events.
The Well Outreach began as a food pantry in a local church in 2006, with the goal of showing God's love by giving food to those in need. The Well is supported by the amazingly generous community in Spring Hill and surrounding areas. Numerous individuals, churches, civic organizations and businesses contribute on a regular basis to insure that no household in Spring Hill, Thompson Station, College Grove, or northern Columbia is without food assistance when needed.
When Tommy Rhodes was a PhD student at Vanderbilt he had a vision to start a camp that brought together kids from all socioeconomic levels, races and backgrounds. Not long after he had that vision Tommy and his wife sold all of their possessions and began Barefoot Republic. Seventeen years later they welcomed their 10,000th camper and now have camps in three states. Barefoot Republic’s overnight campground is located in Kentucky and campers stay in “Swiss family Robinson meets MacGyver” style tree-houses. They also offer day camps in the Nashville area and California.
Twenty years ago Judy Suter was faced with the unthinkable when her then 27 year old brother took his own life. When she began looking into the community for bereavement assistance for herself and her young children she found resources were limited. She then took it upon herself to perform a needs analysis, and with a pocket full of determination and courage, voiced her concerns to the governing bodies and asked permission to take a group of children to camp.
After watching their nephew battle cancer, Andrea and David Gillespie wanted to do something to not only thank St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for everything they did for their family but in hopes that they can help other families in the same position. David ran the Memphis marathon in 2015 as a St. Jude Hero and raised an incredible $14,000 in 2 weeks. In the Spring of 2017 Andrea joined David and "Team Garrett" raised $12,770 for St. Jude. "St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is important to us because of the work they did in helping our nephew Garrett fight a type of childhood cancer called retinoblastoma," said David. "And also to help his family as they were able to comfort him and take care of him without having to worry about the financial stress that normally accompanies a disease like cancer."
Many Nashville locals are familiar with the Thistle Farms brand. We see it in our grocery stores and enjoy their lavender hand soaps, lotions and candles. What many may not know is how the Survivor-Leaders, graduates of the Thistle Farms program, are paying it forward mentoring other women who have also survived abuse, prostitution and addiction. The Survivor-Leaders are actively involved in not only mentoring newer residents of the program, but also in sharing this work through speaking, and events, with the wider community.
Snooty Giggles Dog Rescue, based in Thompson's Station, TN, began over 10 years ago as a grass roots organization when founder Shawn South-Aswad and her husband began taking in a few dogs here and there who found themselves in need of a place to lay their head until they could find their own home. As time passed they developed a love and special touch with seniors and medical needs dogs that needed more one on one attention and were being overlooked by the general rescue population. As their children grew older and schedules became more flexible, Shawn decided that it was time to slowly grow the rescue into what is now Snooty Giggles, funding it solely with the profits earned from her art and furniture business, Silo Studios. One extra foster at that time, has now turned into a foster team of approximately 50 active foster families (both regular and temp) who open up their homes to these amazing dogs, of all sizes, age, and ability and "raise them like their own" until the perfect match of a forever home is found.
Cary Ralph, RN, spends her days, and often her nights and weekends, helping women who are battling breast cancer learn to navigate their way through the disease. As soon as they are diagnosed, Cary is there with them. She doesn't keep any set hours. She is at the hospital, on the phone, or in her office with a patient whenever they need her. She almost never says no to them. She answers questions, holds their hand during a biopsy, goes into surgery with them, and on and on.
"I thought everyone had a cancer nurse like Cary Ralph, but apparently not," shared a former patient of Cary's. "I assumed all the different facilities had the same things we have here at Williamson, but that isn't the case. My friends asked me where I got my wig. I told them Cary ordered it for me and they said they had to go to a store and buy theirs. I had several biopsies and Cary sat there and held my hand and coached me through every one of them. She was there for me. She was my family."
Michael Fletcher is a well known public servant in Williamson County. A decorated US Army Veteran, Michael has served as a Lieutenant with the Williamson County Sheriff's Department, a paramedic for Williamson Medical Center EMS and currently serves as the Director of Safety and Security for Williamson County Schools.
"'Fletch' has an extremely rare combination of subject matter knowledge, wisdom and empathy," said Jason Golden, Deputy Superintendent, Williamson County Schools. "His life experiences in the Army, with law enforcement, and as a paramedic have made him particularly well suited to serving our students as the Director of Safety for Williamson County Schools. Our faculty, staff and student body are fortunate that his life of service includes WCS."
"I can't think of anyone who embodies the qualities of a hero more than Jennifer," shared Gail Horton, a dear friend of Jennifer's and her inspiration for exploring foster parenting. "She is a champion for the least of these, the children who are medically fragile and in foster care. Jennifer advocates for these children as if her life depends on it! She is a champion for the children that are in her care. There are some weeks where she spends more time talking to doctors, taking kids to therapy than she is at home. The days at home are filled with sick babies who she rocks and loves on. She not only loves on these babies but also mentors, coaches and empowers the birth families who have not been able to care for their own children. The Wilson family is sacrificial in their giving. Brad, Trent, Liana and Nolan have been a Super Bowl winning team when it comes to working at a calling that God has put on their hearts. I am so proud and privileged to call them my friends."
Jonathan Boye grew up struggling with dyslexia and ADHD and with the "faith of a mustard seed" he found himself helping thousands of people with similar struggles.
"Jon has been a visionary for providing mental health services first to our children in Williamson county but now to all ages in all of middle Tennessee," shared Margaret Owens, Chief Operations Officer at Mercy, in her nomination of Boye. "He came to work at Mercy in June of 2006." 10 years ago this summer. He was brought in to start a behavioral health department to serve the children of Franklin and Williamson County. Mercy now sees adults and children from over 33 counties in middle Tennessee. The behavioral health department that Jon build now has 14 licensed therapists, 1 psychiatrist and 3 psychiatric nurse practitioners. Jon has placed therapists in New Hope Academy, Winstead Academy and now in the Fairview schools."
What started in Kindergarten as a desire to win a class pizza party has turned into a true passion for high school freshman Luke Jenkins. Over the past nine years Luke has collected over $3,800, 75% in pennies, for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as a part of their Pennies for Patients program.
"Our next door neighbors, the Riveras, lost their teenage daughter, Dariana, to cancer when Luke was in the 3rd grade," shared Luke's mother Michelle Jenkins. "I think that's when it started getting closer to our hearts as we learned along his path many stories about Leukemia and Lymphoma. Even the GREAT Tom Landry for whom Luke's sister was named after died of Leukemia. Although it is the largest childhood disease of all the cancers, we have learned of many adult stories, too. We have made countless trips to the CoinStar Machines inside the local Kroger during the fundraisers. All donations go straight to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at NO charge!"
A huge part of what keeps St. Jude Children's Hospital going is the efforts of people like Jess Wright. Several years ago Jess committed to walking a local 5K in her hometown of Frederick, Maryland which benefited St. Jude. At the time she wanted to encourage people who never thought they could do an endurance race to join her and walk rather than run and most importantly she wanted to raise funds for St. Jude. What better way to do this than to start her own team? A few years later when St. Jude became a beneficiary of the Nashville marathon, with a little encouragement from her friends at St. Jude, Jess brought her team to Nashville and began participating in the Annual St. Jude Rock 'N Rock Nashville Marathon.
Joe Bradford, or Papa Joe as he's known to many, grew up in poverty and after facing time in prison for computer hacking and fighting kidney disease he and his wife Denise were forced to move into one of Nashville's project communities. After seeing needs of the children within this community they were inspired to create Elijah's Heart, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to show love to underprivileged children and assist them with practical needs. One of the many ways they show love is through their Walks of Love. On a regular basis Papa Joe and Denise along with groups of volunteers visit low income communities and deliver food and supplies.
Jacquie Glover could teach lessons about how to turn lemons into lemonade. After receiving the a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2007 during a routine mammogram, Jacquie went through several surgeries and chemo and in her words "came out a stronger person."
"During my diagnosis and recovery having a strong support group and focusing on nutrition and exercise helped me maintain a positive attitude and a healthy mind, body and spirit. Now as a survivor, I enjoy supporting Susan G Komen by fundraising, being a resource for awareness, and helping other women facing breast cancer."
Since DWAG's Hometown Heroes started, Earl Hensel has been a part of awarding five different heroes. Earl's heroes have included local veteran Mike Reeder, special needs teacher Jan Lincoln, MADD advocate and survivor Millie Webb, Lu Sipos creator of the Chemo Duck and Paul Fleenor, a local veteran who led the charge to bring the Honor Flight Program to Middle Tennessee. Because of Earl's initiative to nominate these locals, each of his heroes has been celebrated for their accomplishment and thousands of dollars have been given to local charities on their behalf. Not only that but he has personally been involved in each one of the charities serving along side the heroes he nominated.
In March of 2012 Ty and Nancy Osman faced the unthinkable when they lost their son Ty. Ty Osman II had a heart for helping others and was a light to everyone around him. Even in his passing he was a gift to many as an organ donor. "After he passed we heard so many stories about how just his regular kindness effected people," shared Ty Jr.'s mother Nancy. "How his smiling and everyday manor made people feel special, and feel loved and seen. So that's part of what our foundation wants to do, to just extend kindness to other people that are less fortunate and to inspire them to do good and seek God in their life. There have been days where we've wanted to have a pity party but God always sends something to let us know he's still there and that carries us through." In honor of the Osman's inspiring story of how they have turned their tragedy into a blessing for so many and in support of the work they continue to do with the Ty2 Foundation they were honored as Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Heroes.
In 1992, Sister Sandra founded Project Reflect, a nonprofit organization in Nashville whose mission is "transforming urban America through education and policy reform." As Executive Director, in 2002 she strongly influenced passage of the first charter school legislation for the State of Tennessee. Under the new law, in August 2003 Project Reflect opened Middle Tennessee's first free, public charter school, Smithson Craighead Academy (SCA) elementary school, which serves 240 children from low-income families who reside in the Davidson County area.
It's a known fact around town that Franklin's Downtown area hasn't always been so picturesque. The historic area had fallen into much disrepair and businesses were not thriving, that is until the early 1980's when locals like Ed Silva saw the potential and started to change all of that. "Ed Silva provided extraordinary leadership in our journey to establish Franklin's Main Street as the heart of our community", said Mary Pearce, the Heritage Foundation's Executive Director. "His passion and enthusiasm for rescuing Franklin's boarded up Main Street has made this 30 year "overnight" success possible. When I need someone to represent the merits of historic preservation, I pick up the phone and call Ed Silva."
Snowball Express brings together children of the Fallen right before Christmas to have fun, be together, and just heal. The organization provides an opportunity for children to be with others "like them ", to be "normal " because they often are the only ones in their schools and communities who have lost a parent at war, they just feel different. A feeling Samantha Ponder understands all too well, being the daughter of one of our nation's Fallen. With her fighting spirit, she created the Snowball Express 5K which has fully funded sending 78 children to the Snowball Express.
Each year the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program gives individuals and partnering corporations an opportunity to adopt less fortunate children and seniors who would otherwise receive very little or nothing during the holiday season and provides them with personalized gifts and necessities. Behind the scenes of the Angel Tree program is an army of volunteers, and alongside them is Amanda Grieves, who coordinates the program each year.
There are few in Williamson County who haven't been impacted by Jimmy Gentry in one way or another. Whether it's been through a simple visit to his family farm to pick pumpkins, in the classroom, on the football field, or by listening to him speak about his experience serving our country in World War II, Gentry's story is an extraordinary one.
After years of teaching special education and serving as a JOBS coordinator, which involved a "school to work " transition classroom for young adults with special needs, Brenda Hauk felt led to open a Christian-based job training center for adults who live with developmental disabilities. She visited several facilities, established relationships with mentors, and in 1999, BrightStone opened with 4 students, a volunteer staff of two, and donated space in a local church. Today, over 15 years later, BrightStone currently serves 35 adults, maintains a waiting list and has attracted families from a 5-county area.
Peggy Smith or Ms. Peggy, as she is affectionately called by Club members, is also known as the PBJ lady. Ms. Peggy has been known to not only drop everything to make a child in need a hot meal, she spends up to 5 days a week at the Club preparing and serving snack. She has made it her mission to educate the general public about the challenges faced by the many children that may go hungry during the summer, on the weekends, or simply after the school day has endd. Smith was one of six Downtown Merchants to create Wine Down Main Street which has consistently been voted best event since it's creation seven years ago.
Now in her 90's, it is easy to see why when asked about Franklin local, Inge Smith, locals use terms like mentor, treasure and inspiring. Born in Germany, Inge Meyring Smith moved to the States with her parents at the age of 15 to escape the Nazi regime. After marrying Paul Smith, a GI and native of West Tennessee, she moved from New York City to Franklin, Tennessee, where she raised a family, completed multiple degrees at Vanderbilt University and opened numerous schools, including Smith Preschool, which just celebrated 62 years in business.
As many who have worked with or for a non-profit know , sometimes exactly what you need is the breath of fresh air a new volunteer brings. Such is the case with Walden's Puddle, a professionally staffed wildlife rehabilitation and education facility in Middle Tennessee. "Lane Brody took Walden 's Puddle from a financially and emotionally barren organization to what it is at the moment which is spectacular", said Emily Magid, fellow animal lover and Walden's Puddle volunteer. "She organized and invested her talents, tenacity and time getting WP into a stable and orderly business."
Autumn Bennett was the light of her parents lives. At the age of one she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. "She was given a life expectancy of 15 years", said Autumn's Father, Gary. "We were determined to make every year we had with her as great as possible. She loved God, dancing, Disney World, her family and Rusty Wallace. We find comfort in knowing that she breathes and dances with Angels in Heaven." Out of the tragedy of losing their daughter, Gary Bennett and his wife Sharon have remained committed to finding a cure for and supporting those with Cystic Fibrosis.
In October 1997, thanks to the work of Creely Wilson and many others, Christian Women's Job Corps opened its doors at Lockland Baptist Church in East Nashville. The ten women who made up the first class received invaluable help in achieving their GED diplomas and learning computer skills. They grew spiritually through Bible studies and faithful mentoring by volunteers. In the following fifteen years, CWJC moved to a larger location, expanded to three locations, and opened a program for men.
Often the most deserving heroes are also the most humble. So is the case with Tracy Halloran. Tracy, who grew up in the inner city of Chicago, has called Franklin, Tennessee home for the past seventeen years. For the past 14 years she has been a part of the local Meals on Wheels effort, first volunteering as a driver and in 2007 she took over as the Franklin coordinator for Monday, Wednesday and Friday MOW, originally founded by Janielle Westbrook.
The couple who have three children-Olivia Drae (5), Bane Alton Drake (who would be 4 now) and Bayo Shalom (2)- found themselves struggling with the everyday tasks of life after loosing their son Bane. Out of this tremendous loss, they started Banebow, an organization which provides mental, physical, and spiritual assistance to families who have sustained the sudden loss of a child.
As Director of Williamson County Animal Services, Laura Chavarria has improved the adoption experience with a remodel of the front office area, lobby TV monitors, skylights and an improvement in general shelter cleanliness. A firm believer in the power of marketing, Chavarria has implemented several successful monthly adoption campaigns like Summer of Love, the 31 Days of October, and Home for the Holidays hoping to capture the attention of the local community.
GiGi's Playhouse, a national achievement center for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community has just opened a Nashville location. Offering more than 25 therapeutic and educational programs focused on advancing literacy, math skills, motor skills and more all free of charge. Local mother, Melissa Wenger, whose child has Down syndrome, along with her child's teacher, decided there were not enough resources in Nashville for people with Down Syndrome and lead the vision of bringing GiGi's Playhouse to Nashville.
Dorie Bolze has spent her career committed to conservation. For the past 12 years she has lead the Harpeth River Watershed Association based in Williamson County. Her commitment to the preservation and restoration of environmental resources, including the Harpeth River, has made a tremendous difference in communities across Middle Tennessee.
Kennette Pyles has taught survival skills in the Nashville area for 8 years to more than 1,000 local infants and young children. After loosing her own son Ryan to a tragic drowning, she and her husband also created the Ryan Pyles Aquatic Foundation to help prevent childhood drowning.
At the tender age of 7 Christian Kissinger convinced his mother to take on a position that led to her starting a statewide branch of VSA International, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in and express themselves through the arts and arts education. And over the years he has helped VSA Tennessee in multiple ways, from meeting with the legislators in Washington, D.C. lobbying for the cause, to performing for children with disabilities to help inspire them to reach their goals.
Many locals already know the story- when Ellie Ambrose was only 10 years old, she had a dream of hosting a 5K Run and Family Fun Day to benefit kids in the slums of Africa. Over the past 11 years, thousands of middle Tennessee runners and Hero fund raisers have joined together to raise over $500,000 funding education for thousands of kids who now have hope of a future outside of the slums.
In 2008 Larisa Featherstone's daughter Lily was diagnosed with leukemia and received 2 years of chemotherapy before going into remission. Last year they received the devastating news that the cancer was back. Throughout Lily's fight Larisa and her family have diligently worked to raise funds and awareness for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and children's cancer surpassing their original $1 million goal. They also created the Lily's Garden Endowment which is committed to make a significant contribution to learning more about childhood cancer- it's causes, treatments and, someday, cures.
Retired Franklin police officer, Tommy Heithcock, spent 36 years serving as a police officer in Williamson County, 26 of those with the City of Franklin. He's also been a volunteer with Peytonsville's Volunteer Fire Department, currently serving as the President of their board. Throughout his work and his life he's approached it all in a show up and help however you can way and has been a longtime trusted source of assistance in his community.
Darrell Waltrip Automotive awarded their second Hometown Hero, Mary Beth Gates of Nashville. In the spirit of Mother's Day, she was recognized for her inspiring approach to community service as a full time mother and volunteer. After leaving HCA in 2006, Mary Beth becames HIgh Hopes' Volunteer Accountant, volunteering approximately 552 hours annually. "Mary Beth goes above and beyond the day to day accounting duties necessary for High Hopes to function," says Holly Beth Roach, the Fund Development Coordinator. What began with a complete reorganization and restructuring of their financial system has now become a full time position.
"Donnie has gone out of his way time and time again not just for us but for people all in the community," said Darrell Waltrip about Dr. Headrick, his personal vet of 20+ years. "I could tell you stories about things he has done. He's a special man and this was a big honor for me to have him here and present him with this trophy."
In honor of the countless lives he has impacted during his 40+ years as a practicing vet, Doctor Donnie Headrick was named a Darrell Waltrip Automotive Group Hometown Hero.
Robert Houston Barker of Franklin was honored at the Darrell Waltrip Automotive dealership as the first Hometown Hero chosen. Both locally and abroard, Barker has shown to be a man of service for his family, community, and country. His battalion liberated nearly 1,000 prisoners of war at the Elbe River during his service in WWII. Home from the war, Barker adn his wife, Eva Mae opened Western Auto on Main Street, a store that gave many residents their first line of credit, first bicycle, and first baseball glove for 32 years.
Dr. Vanderpool was nominated by his son for his passion to improve the lives of others. "I have been profoundly influenced by my father and his selfless giving and am grateful that others see him as the hero that I know him to be". David Stalling Vanderpool. From Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, and Mozambique to the New Orleans, Alabama, and Nashville, Vanderpool has been an aid to global poverty and worldwide disaster relief for many years.
July's Hometown Hero award goes to Kenny Lane, former FIre Chief of Brentwood, for serving such a vital role in the development of Brentwood's Fire Department and for his dedication to bettering his entire communtiy. Kenny Lane has served the Fire Department from teh beginning of its inception in 1986. SInce 1993, he has led the department as the Fire Chief, retiring from the department on June 30th 2011.
Evelyn HIckerson has been teaching for over 30 years, currently teaching at Johnson Elementary School in Franklin. In the summer of 2010 she started Gentry's Educational Foundation in honor of her parents, James and Josephine Gentry. Using the money left to her upon their passing, she and her husband Rovert started the foundation to give children in Franklin the opportunity to enrich their live through education, support, and mentoring.
For years, Chapman has revealed his heart for service and his vast influence on others to do the same, directly influencing and encouraging his coworkers, friends, and family to serve their community. During his time serving on the board of Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County he helped build dozens of homes and was a leader in making the homes National Green Building certified and Energy Star certified.
Anderson responded to seeing Katrina hurricane evacuees displaced from their homes, living in Franklin, and left without insurance from jobs they no longer had. He started Grace Medical Clinic by taking time off from his regular practice on Fridays to serve the uninsured population. As the clinic has grown, Anderson now serves both Wednesdays and Fridays, as a Family Doctor for the uninsured. For 38 years he has provided treatment for thousands of insured patients and his persistence has led to him serving a greater population.
Loosing both of his legs fighting for our country in Vietnam never slowed Mike Reeder down. He lived a life full of supporting charities like Outward Bound, an organization that assists in returning disabled veterans in coping with life in America as well as the Challenged Athletes Foundation whose mission is to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. After he retired, when he wasn't with his family he could be found at Forrest Crossing's golf course. An accomplished golfer, Mike was featured in an ESPN report chronicling his journey to play on the old course at St. Andrews, shooting a 79 while there.
As a retired engineer and contractor, Jim was awarded for spending his time and talents helping architecturally restore his church and the schools of Project Reflect, a non-profit organization determined to transform urban America through education and policy reform.
Joan Anderson, an Executive Assistant at the non-profit, nominated Charron and has experienced first hand the benefits of Jim's service. She spoke of Jim's willingness and "offering his gifts and talents generously" in her nomination. In addition to voluntarily supervising various construction and renovation projects over the years, he has personally helped tile floors, repair windows, remodel kitchens, install drainage systems, and much more.
Franklin local Dr. Monty McInturff was awarded for his leadership role in the conservation of his community and for his selflessness while serving.
In April 2011, Franklin Tomorrow founded Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC in which Dr. McInturff serves as the founding President of the Board of Governors. Friends of Franklin Parks was created for private donors to make tax-deductible contributions to fund improvements of area recreational facilities and preserve the cultural and natural resources for future generations.
Darrell Waltrip Automotive has awarded their second teacher in the Hometown Hero campaign, presenting Jan Lincoln from Centennial High School as February's hero. She was nominated by her neighbor, Earl Hensel, who praised her life-long passion and dedication to individuals with special needs.
Since 2003, the Wilson's have been involved in connecting Americans with the people of Haiti, leading hundreds of people overseas by sharing their heart for the country. The Wilsons and their team have helped thousands of Haitian people in need by providing food, supporting churches and schools, building homes, and housing orphans, showing their compassion to many individuals along the way. Amidst the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, they adopted their second child from Haiti and became even more inspired to help children in that area. Over the years, many initiatives and support organizations have started because of the influence and encouragement of Mike and Missy Wilson.
In 2004, Wayne Baskett experienced a near fatal motorcycle accident, owing his only reason for survival to the Vanderbilt LifeFlight team. Since then he has shared his lifealtering story with many community members, acknowledging the imme nse skill and importance of emergent care transportation. Darrell Waltrip Automotive awards the Vanderbilt LifeFlight team as April's Hometown Hero for their continued commitment toward saving lives.
In honor of Mother's Day, Darrell Waltrip Automotive chose to award Millie Webb as Hometown Hero of May. Webb is being honored this month for her influence and dedication to the nationally recognized organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The personal trauma in Millie's life has inspired her to work tirelessly and compassionately to end drunk driving. In 2000, with the help of Millie's leadership, the legal blood alcohol concentration level lowered from .10 to .08.
In remembrance of a father, husband, successful businessman, and advocate to provide affordable housing for families in Williamson County, Darrell Waltrip Automotive honors Ermon Lature as the June Hometown Hero. For the impact Lature made on the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County, friends, family and Habitat staff recently gathered to honor his memory at the Darrell Waltrip Automotive Honda showroom.
John Murphy has worn many hats in his lifetime- veteran, high school teacher, police officer, sheriff's deputy, mason, minister, Boy Scout leader, neighbor, friend, father, grandfather, great grandfather and community leader. Such service has made him a hero to many, and this month he is being honored as the Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero.
As the Executive Director for Waves, Inc. Jennifer Krahenbill is responsible for leading her team as they work to enable individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through everything from cooking classes to volunteer work as well as early intervention for young children. "I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be associated with an organization that connects me to so many wonderful people. The individuals who receive services are genuine and give so much back through their warm qualities. It's great to be a part of a community that looks to an enhanced quality of life for all."
When Mark Fry was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis back in 1998 he choose to become a advocate & fund raiser to help provide support and work towards a cure for MS. For the last 11 years he has done everything he possibly can to support the local Mid South Chapter of the National MS Society. It is for this tireless work that he is being honored as the Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero for the month of September.
As the Promotions and Special Projects Manager for Nashville's Fox 17, Deb Williams spends her days spotlighting local events, charities, people and businesses. Now the tables have turned and it's Deb who is being spotlighted. She has been named a Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero for her courageous battle with breast cancer and her passion for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Local attorney and philanthropist Julian Bibb has spent a lifetime supporting, founding and spearheading numerous nonprofits. From Leadership Franklin, which he co-founded, to Franklin's Charge, the Heritage Foundation and many, many more, Bibb's hard work has profoundly altered the landscape of Williamson County. It is for this dedication that he is being honored at a Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero for the month of November.
For a parent there is nothing harder than having a sick child, or even worse losing that child. Kim Milliken learned this the hard way when one month before her son's fifth birthday he was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a form a brain cancer. And while her son Clinton lost his battle in January, Kim and close family friend Lori Woodard-Hoyt are making sure that his sweet spirit lives on with Clinton's Club, a local nonprofit that provides help to other families with sick children as well as raises awareness of the needs of these families. It is for this work that Kim and Lori are being honored as the Darrell Waltrip Hometown Heros.
It was a spot on the news that piqued retired Army Colonel Paul Fleenor's interest in Honor Flight and lead to him to spearhead the efforts to bring the program to Middle Tennessee. Founded as an attempt to insure that as many WWII Veterans as possible get the chance to travel to Washington D.C. to see the memorial dedicated to their heroic efforts, the Honor Flight Program provides the trip, free of charge, to as many veterans as possible. After seeing the spotlight on the Honor Flight Program Fleenor traveled to Washington D.C. to learn more. "Seeing the World War II Memorial during that trip inspired me to come home and begin the process of organizing the Honor Flight Hub in the middle Tennessee area", shared Fleenor.
'Picture of humility', 'a generous heart', 'an inspiration', 'dedicated' are just a few of the words used to describe Nicole Cochran by those who know and love her. It is for her love of community, kind heart and inspiring story as a single foster mother that she is being honored as the Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero for the month of February.
This is the MOV staff, the "front line troops" that get the work of this ministry done day in and day out. I may have received this award, but I could not do this job without these individuals. --Carl
After a childhood filled with neglect, abuse, abandonment, foster homes and trouble with the law, on the heels of serving time in Vietnam with the military, Carl Carlson made some bad choices and ended up in the state penitentiary on an armed robbery charge. It was during his time in prison that Carl found Christ and from that point on has dedicated his life to help the less fortunate and the ostracized in our society.
For the past 30 plus years, Gayle Moyer Harris, has helped shaped Williamson County through her work serving as a county commissioner. Because of her leadership helping to form the Williamson County Economic Development effort and Franklin Tomorrow as well as her service on the Board of Directors for the Williamson County Public Library, YMCA of Middle Tennessee and the Board of Directors for the Community Housing Partnership of Williamson County and her efforts serving as the inaugural director of the 21st Judicial District Drug Court. She has been named a DWA Hometown Hero.
Girls on the Run Nashville is an innovative after-school program that uses the power of running to inspire and prepare Middle Tennessee girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy active living. It's goals are to improve the social, physical, emotional and mental well-being of adolescent girls, empowering them with a strong sense of identity and achievement. It's easy to see why the recently retired Board Chair of GOTR, Diane Crosier, is passionate about this mission.
Best Buddies has made it their mission to create opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Behind the scenes is an army of volunteers hosting events, creating friendships with Buddies, providing job coaching, and finding socialization and leadership opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the hope of them becoming more independent and included in the community. One of those volunteers is Becky Haynes Shafer.
For GraceWorks, Williamson County's largest food bank, the needs of local individuals and families is never ending. Over the years, local grocery store manager Joe Zarcone has been an indispensable tool in helping GraceWorks fulfill these needs for thousands of locals. Working behind the scenes to respond to needs within the community from GraceWorks and numerous other non-profits, Joe has not only utilized his position as store manager to meet those needs whenever possible, he has often worked hands on to help fulfill these needs personally.
In 2010, Mary Mader and Carole Horlacher became volunteers for Williamson County Animal Services in Franklin. Seeing a need to help the shelter staff, they set up a desk at the front door and implemented a meet and greet strategy for all potential adopters. Mary and Carole know the right questions to ask and daily they help "match " adopters and pets. This process helps insure a good, lasting adoption. They also help with off-site events, coming early and staying late, setting up, keeping up with adoption contracts and other paperwork.
Jerry and Sharon Clement founded Take the Reins, a local equine assisted therapeutic riding ministry for children and youth with physical, emotional, intellectual, and medical challenges in 2011. Born from their passion for horses and interest in working with children, what started as a program with only 3 riders and has grown into a 501(c)3 Corporation serving over 25 riders, 40+ volunteers, and PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Certified Instructors.
One week before his first birthday, on Christmas Day 2002, Lu Sipos' son Gabe was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. He learned how to walk and talk while enduring 30 days of 9 months of Chemotherapy treatments and numerous surgeries. Like many parents, Lu found herself feeling lost during this time, unsure of what her role on her son's medical team looked like. That is until she created the first Chemo Duck.
Roger McDaniel is a wonderful example of what it looks like to serve your community well. When not spending time at the office or with his family Roger McDaniel fills up his time mentoring and helping veterans in need get back on their feet, managing and tending a local giving garden and preserving local historical landmarks.
Tim Gregath, Executive Director of the Building Lives Foundation, a local non-profit committed to assisting veterans in the process of rebuilding their lives, sung Roger's praises in his DWAG Hometown Hero Nomination. "Roger McDaniel has been the key person instrumental in helping several veterans in need in the Middle Tennessee area, contributing close to $10,000 personally as well as a great amount of his time. He currently manages the "garden" for First Methodist Church of Franklin. The "garden" provides food for needy families in Franklin. He also has worked with the Franklin Masonic Lodge to preserve their historic building just off the Franklin square."