FedEx employees and their families have embraced the mission of FedExFamilyHouse. From volunteering at the house to raising money, the FedEx community makes the house a home.
When Sarah Farrell was just 2 weeks old, her dad and grandfather went to the Army Supply store to buy a cot.
It was for Sarah’s mom to sleep on for the days following her daughter’s open heart surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Sarah has heard that story for years, and now as part of the FedExFamilyHouse expansion campaign communications committee she can make sure moms don’t have to sleep on cots in hospital rooms. Sarah works in Global Citizenship at FedEx. “I fully understand the importance of FedExFamilyHouse because it wasn’t an option for my family in 1979. It brings me joy to know families have one less thing to worry about,” she said. Sarah has another special connection to Le Bonheur – she’s a patient.
Sarah sees a cardiologist at Le Bonheur who specializes in the care of adults who were born with heart defects. Sarah says she feels like her story has come full circle.
Wendy Retherford connects to the mission through FedExFamilyHouse.
When she was young, she remembers her brother spending time in the hospital and the people who supported her family during that time. That’s why she is passionate about leading the FedEx Express Memphis Night Sort in raising money to support FedExFamilyHouse. Through cookouts and donut sales and other grassroots efforts, the Memphis Night Sort has contributed nearly $20,000 to the house. Pictured above: Wendy Retherford, Tyler Hays, Tamieka Hollingsworth, Camille Johnson and Odis Jones.
Ed Coleman started his career in corporate communications at Le Bonheur Children’s in 1988.
“I remember we often got calls from families who need a place to stay or didn’t have money to pay for a hotel. Even though we tried to connect them to resources, it was hard to say you couldn’t help them,” he said. When he moved to FedEx after 10 years at Le Bonheur, he says he was grateful to work at a company that helps organizations like Le Bonheur. When the hospital and FedEx announced plans to build FedExFamilyHouse, he was one of the first to join the Advisory Council. “FedEx supports the community where their employees live and work. Through the FedExCares initiative, employees are encouraged to give their time and talent back to those communities. FedExFamilyHouse is a passion of mine now. I want to use my skills and talents to give back,” he said. Ed helped plan the groundbreaking and opening and chaired this year’s gala, which raised nearly $1 million.
The FedEx TechConnect team puts the care in FedExCares, a company-wide initiative to support local communities.
TechConnect employees, led by Cary Pappas, Sr. Vice President, have taken special interest in FedExFamilyHouse. The team has gone above and beyond to make families at FedExFamilyHouse feel loved and supported. From baking cookies, stocking the pantry and preparing meals, TechConnect makes the house a home away from home. And through grassroots fundraising, the team has raised nearly $24,000 this year toward its goal of $35,000. Pictured above are a few members of the current TechConnect FedExFamilyHouse Grassroots Fundraising Oversight Committee: Phyllis Hobson, Ruben Perez, Arvis Nichols and Loriece Freeman.
Families who travel long distance for care at Le Bonheur have a lot on their minds.
Steve Wilson says providing a home away from home frees up families to focus on their child’s recovery. He’s part of FedEx’s AGFS Central Region team in 19 different cities, including Fargo, Minneapolis and Indianapolis, that has raised $88,000 this year and more than $53,000 last year for FedExFamilyHouse. Employees have come up with creative ways to support the house. From car washes, egg relays, silent auctions, cook outs, change buckets, ice cream sales, spaghetti dinner and golf tournaments, AGFS has made a big difference for Le Bonheur families.
Steve says he’s proud to be part of such a generous company with great employees that give from the heart. “It’s another way FedEx employees can give back to the community.”
FedExFamilyHouse stole Janice (center) and Dave Russell’s hearts.
At Christmas, instead of exchanging gifts with their group of FedEx friends, they all make donations to keep the pantry at FedExFamilyHouse stocked. Janice also loves to prepare food for the families at the house. She recently brought friends Anita Sisk (left) and Nancy Cox (right) to make quiche for lunch, and her 8-year-old granddaughter to bake cookies. Dave, vice president of Central Field Sales, FedEx Services, often uses the House’s conference room for meetings, which allows visitors to see the impact of FedExFamilyHouse in person.
The FedEx Pilot Wives Association has supported the house before the doors open.
They were among the first organizations outside of FedEx Corporation to make a commitment to support FedExFamilyHouse through donations that are recognized in the house.
Plus, the organization’s members decorate the house for Christmas and Hanukah every year and provide gifts and pantry items for the families throughout the year.
Once the FedEx Express Southern Region US Operations team saw FedExFamilyHouse, fundraising came naturally.
“This house bears our name,” said Lisa Vinson, pictured left with Susan Sweat.
“It’s a privilege to be part of supporting these families.”
The team has raised more than $400,000 through an annual golf tournament and a light up the house campaign.
Al and Carol LaRocca have been passionate about Le Bonheur for years.
The former FedEx pilot and his wife have included the hospital in their estate with a generous gift. In 2016, the LaRoccas teamed up with Jose´ Gutierrez, Colleen DePete, Nancy Kistler, Bob and Sherry Chimenti and Star Distributing to launch the first Memphis Food & Wine Festival. Naming FedExFamilyHouse as the beneficiary was a no-brainer. “Nothing can be more gratifying than supporting the hospital that all children can go to for the health needs they require,” Al said. “FedExFamilyHouse is a tremendous undertaking.”