Here’s a fun way to support pastoral care in local hospitals right now with Baptist Health Foundation

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Shoe Guys, Baptist Health Foundation
The Shoe Guys bring the fun to Wine Women + Shoes. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

On Tuesday, September 21, Wine Women + Shoes is taking place at The Birmingham Zoo. Although this popular event—supporting Baptist Health Foundation—sold out in record time, we talked to four “Shoe Guys” about why they got involved and what the Foundation’s work means to them. Keep reading to learn more, including how you can support this great cause.

Wine Women + Shoes raises funds for Baptist Health Foundation

Shoe Guys
Shoe Guys at a previous event. Photo via Wine Women + Shoes Birmingham’s Facebook

Each year, Wine Women + Shoes gives people a chance to have fun and raise money. Why? To support Brookwood Baptist Health patients and employees in need. As you can imagine, both have been especially important during the pandemic. 

Jennifer Sanders, Chair of Wine Women + Shoes, explained how each year, they raise money for an area of Baptist Health System that benefits patients and staff. 

She’s very excited that this year, the focus will be on pastoral care providers, otherwise known as hospital chaplains.

“When you think about how COVID-19 has impacted our healthcare environment—the chaplain is often the one person the patient has had to listen to them, since family and friends haven’t been able to go into the hospital. They’ve been patient advocates and messengers between patients and families. Sometimes they record the person’s last message and then walk down to the car to share that goodbye with family members. Our chaplains are truly the angels in the hallways right now.” 

Even though this year’s event is sold out, you can still participate. Support a Shoe Guy with your donations—click directly on your guy’s name to be directed to his personal donation page.

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Meet 4 Shoe Guys

Shoe Guys are the volunteers who help make Wine, Women + Shoes a sell-out every year.

Requirements: must be charming, gregarious and ready to make everyone feel right at home.

Their job: schmooze with guests, present designer items on a silver platter (literally), sell raffle tickets, promote the auction and make each and every guest feel special.

They also help spread word of the event to friends and colleagues so everyone will know about this important annual soiree. 

We talked with four men who work for Brookwood Baptist Health to find out what made them sign up, what they’re most looking forward to and why the Baptist Health Foundation matters to them. Here’s what they told us.

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Nick Tudisco, Patient Safety Officer at Shelby Baptist Medical Center

Nick Tudisco, Brookwood Baptist
Nick Tudisco. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Tudisco is honored and excited to support the Baptist Health Foundation in his first year as a Shoe Guy. 

“The Baptist Health Foundation hasn’t ever lost sight of its mission from its creation. This matters in today’s society in more ways to more people than one can realize—a constant reminder that people and organizations want to help and will.”

Support Nick Tudisco

Lavon Beard, Patient Experience Director at Princeton Baptist Medical Center

Lavon Beard
Lavon Beard. Photos via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Beard was first a Shoe Guy back in 2019 and had such an amazing experience, he signed up again. 

“In my role as Patient Experience Director, I’ve seen the Foundation help purchase equipment for patients who are in need of assistance. It makes a real difference in our patients’ lives.” 

Support Lavon Beard

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Paul Storey, Chief Operating Officer at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center

Paul Storey
Paul Storey. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Storey was supposed to be a Shoe Guy at the 2020 event, but, like with everything else, COVID had other plans. Since he was new to Birmingham then, he thought it would be a great way to meet new people and have a good time for a good cause. 

Now, he’s looking forward to finally being a first-timer and can’t wait to see what it’s all about. 

“Working for Brookwood Baptist Health, I see first-hand, every day, the needs that so many of our patients and families have. I also see directly how the work of the Foundation helps them.  

Since we are in a super difficult time with recruiting nurses and other staff, I love that the Foundation provides so many scholarships every year to students going into the field.”

Support Paul Storey

Michael Gaither, Risk Management-Patient Safety Officer at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center + Citizens Baptist

Michael Gaither
Michael Gaither as Santa. Photo via Michael Gaither

Gaither loves to laugh and have a good time, so being a Shoe Guy was a no-brainer for him. He also loves supporting Baptist Health Foundation’s more than 50-year history of charitable giving. 

Unlike the other members of the crew, he’s a Shoe Guy who doubles as Santa for three months out of the year. As  you can probably guess from his Santa gig, the gift of giving means a lot to Gaither. 

“The Foundation matters to me because it offers education to grow our healthcare future. I grew up in rural Alabama and did not have a lot as a child. Through benevolent giving, I became a Paramedic, then a Nursing Assistant and I have been able to touch so many lives because of people’s charitable giving early in my career. A quote I love is, ‘The world we live in equally distributes talent, but it does not equally distribute opportunity.’”

Support Michael Gaither

Support the Shoe Guys in their mission of raising funds for the Baptist Health Foundation.

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Sharron Swain
Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference
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