Past Hometown Heroes

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NOOK (Needs Of Our Kids)


 

In 2017, the Franklin Special School District (FSSD) Executive PTO began exploring better ways to engage community organizations and resources in support of students and families with critical needs. With a “free and reduced” lunch population hovering at 40%, the FSSD has children who sometimes arrive at school without basic needs met. Immediate daily needs can range from improper or inadequate clothing, inappropriate shoes for physical education classes, missing supplies, and hunger.

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Camp Will


 

Camp Will is a seven week summer day camp for children, adolescents, and young adults, ages 6-23 years, with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities. Campers with disabilities like Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, autism spectrum disorder and more are able to enjoy a typical summer camp experience that includes swim outings, arts and crafts, sports, special events and more. Hosted by Williamson County Parks and Rec they offer two camp sites (Pearre Creek and Crockett), with up to 60 campers per site.

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Vickie Harris

 
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. 
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Kiley Maupin

 
Kiley Maupin 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. 
 
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Debbie Noland

 
Its’s difficult to put into words all that Debbie Noland does and is to the Nolensville community. Simply put Debbie is the backbone of the Nolensville Food Pantry. As the pantry’s primary coordinator she works to feed those in need. She along with a group of committed volunteers make up Nolensville’s only food pantry.  
 
The Nolensville Food Pantry comes alongside families during difficult times to love on them. The pantry helps with immediate needs of food, household, and personal goods.
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Marianne Schroer

CASA
 
 
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.  
 
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Sarah Hart

Achilles International, Nashville Chapter
 

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 
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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. 
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Marianne Schroer

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…
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Sunny Rosanbalm


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.  

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MDA Providing Hope For Families


 

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.

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Stephen Huff


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…
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Gail Powell

 

​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.
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Chris & Elaine Whitney

 

​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.  
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Muscular Dystrophy Association

 
 
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.
 
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Mary Ann Parks

 

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 generous…
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Agape Animal Rescue

 

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. 
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David and Andrea Gillespie

 

​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. 
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Tommy Rhodes

 

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 treehouses. 
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Survivor Leaders

 

​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.
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Dr. Donnie Headrick

 

"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…
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Cary Ralph

 

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.
 
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Larissa Featherstone

 

In 2008 Larisa Featherstone's daughter Lily was diagnosed with leukemia and received 2 years of chemotherapy before going into remission. In 2016 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.
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Shawn Aswad

 

​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. 
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Wilson Family

 

​"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…
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Michael Fletcher

 

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. 
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Luke Jenkins

 

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. In nine years Luke 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…
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Jon Boye

 

​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."
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Jess Wright

 

?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?
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Roger McDaniel

 

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. 
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