July-August issue

Page 1


Tom Brown’s Restaurant VIP Night | Flashback Events | Class of 2020 Graduates JULY / AUGUST 2020



VON BRAUN CENTER Mark C. Smith Concert Hall | Mars Music Hall | Propst Arena The Playhouse | North Hall | South Hall | East Hall | Rhythm On Monroe

Our favorite events celebrate the community and local achievements.

University of Alabama in Huntsville Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University

Congratulations graduates! You’ve worked hard and deserve every recognition.

Oakwood University

marsmusichall.com @marsmusichall #MARSMUSICHALL

Jemison High School



vonbrauncenter.com @vonbrauncenter #VBChsv

rhythmonmonroe.com @rhythmonmonroe #RhythmOnMonroe

2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

Keeping you on the road to success.

Congratulations class of 2020!

Volkswagen of Huntsville (256) 882-0200 | HileyVWHuntsville.com

Our INVESTMENT in TOMORROW Investing in the future involves more than smart, financial planning. It also involves investing our time, talents and resources into the people who will make a brighter tomorrow. Our founder, Edward Fennel Mauldin, was a passionate advocate for higher education, believing any exposure to college was worthwhile. Bank Independent established the Edward Fennel Mauldin Endowed Scholarship to honor his legacy and to provide such opportunities for qualified, first-generation college students in the communities we serve. This year there are 10 scholarship recipients receiving financial support and the backing of all our Bank Independent team members to invest in a successful life for themselves and their families.

Pay it forward. Make a positive dierence.

BIBANK.COM | MEMBER FDIC | 877.865.5050


4 B E D S | 5 B AT H S | 6 , 7 0 0 S Q . F T. 5+ CAR GARAGE | 2.5 ACRES | $1,250,000 9704 Motter Dr. Athens, AL 35611 • This luxurious custom-built dream home on Wheeler Lake is only 30-minutes away from Madison/Huntsville/Florence.

Spanning over 6,700 SF, this magni昀cent, private residence, graced by wall-to-wall windows, is a haven for gazing at lake views from multiple vantage points. Accompanied by an elegant dining room, tremendous chef’s kitchen & breakfast nook. Divine master suite with tray ceiling, big windows & and a walkout to the terrace overlooking the water, an opulent ensuite with a copper soaking tub and separate walk-in slate shower. Large Bonus Room/4th Bedroom with Juliet balcony. The lower level has a large family room, billiards room, full kitchen, gym, o ce and a guest suite. Lower level great for mother-in-law suite with separate garage entrance. Storm shelter, outdoor grilling spaces with gas connections, lifetime warranty shingles, Rinnai water heaters, Low-E 昀lled Anderson cased windows, security system, whole house music and theater sound system, sprinkler system with irrigation from lake, 4 Trane HVAC units, 5+ car garage spaces with ample parking and storage. 2-slip boat dock – largest TVA allows. Learn more at shaluholman.evrealestate.com

Shalu Holman . Engel & Völkers Huntsville 320 The Bridge Street . Suite 104 . Huntsville . AL 35806 (513) 491-2731 shalu.holman@evrealestate.com ©2020 Engel & Völkers. All rights reserved. Each brokerage independently owned and operated. Engel & Völkers and its independent License Partners are Equal Opportunity Employers and fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act.




Let us uncover your best


At Dental Professionals on Whitesburg, we’re more than just dentists. We focus on the entire face. Comprehensive services include our signature cosmetic dentistry; age-defying treatments like dermal fillers, Botox and aesthetic threading; plus, implants and cosmetic dentures. We also offer sedation dentistry for nervous patients. We make going to the dentist like going to the spa with complimentary in-chair back massages, heated neck pillows, headphones, and paraffin hand dips.

Please call for a complimentary cosmetic dental and facial consultation

(256) 883-6770

Read over 420 five-star reviews at: dentalprofessionalsonwhitesburg.com

Now Open!

PREMIUM FOOD IN A RELAXED ATMOSPHERE. RELAX. UNWIND. WE’LL TAKE CARE OF THE DISHES Enjoy food prepared using only the finest ingredients, from Black Angus Prime Beef to seafood that is flown in fresh. Delicious, handcrafted cocktails and craft beer are always on the menu, with weekly drink specials to inspire your adventurous side.


M A D I S O N ’ S N E W P R E M I U M C A S U A L R E S TA U R A N T & L O U N G E


8141 HWY 72 W, in Madison, next to Target

Connect with us on social media:


Make a reservation:

When you need a bank you can trust,

we’re here for you.

IBERIABANK is pledging $500,000 to local food banks across the Company’s footprint. The COVID-19 health care crisis has created hardships for many individuals and families across the country. The loss of jobs, reduction in compensation, and inability to send children to school or daycare have created a growing need to provide access to food in our communities. To help address this pressing issue, we are pleased to support food banks in our communities. In Huntsville, Manna House will be the recipient of IBERIABANK’s local gift. “Manna House has seen a tremendous increase in the number of families needing help with groceries and baby care items during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fran Fluhler, Executive Director. “Many were employed in the hospitality industry or in service related jobs such as hair salons and barber shops. We also have dental hygienists and medical office support that are temporarily needing help too. We are grateful for a generous community that is willing to help us provide for these families during this time!”


July / August 2020

EVENT Magazine

Contents 22

Tom Brown’s Restaurant VIP Night

18 Publisher’s Letter



American Cancer Society Survivors (July/August 2014)





Tom Brown’s Restaurant VIP Night

American Cancer Society Survivors (July/August 2014)


Roast to Remember (July/August 2011)

Feature: Huntsville Heroes


Ashley Davis - Mission Firefly: Lunches of Love/Food Drives Fran Fluhler - Manna House


Touch of Red Gala (July/August 2009)


Huntsville Classic (July/August 2009)


Feature: Class of 2020 Graduates

Huntsville Heroes 32 34


On The Cover: Brenda Pearce, Amanda Homelvig at Tom Brown’s Restaurant VIP Night Photo by Steve Babin



47 Huntsville Happenings


Roast to Remember (July/August 2011)

Mary Pat Riley North Alabama Mask Makers


20 Editor’s Letter

Touch of Red Gala (July/August 2009)

We Are Here For You FYZICAL® Dizziness and Fall Prevention Center is a dedicated balance program led by highly trained vestibular therapists. All our clinicians have completed worldclass balance & vestibular certification programs, and they are highly trained in the evaluation and treatment of balance disorders. FYZICAL® is fully equipped with the latest technologies in order to better determine the cause of the imbalance which allows us to provide the fastest, most effective road to recovery. Our overhead support systems maximize the SAFETY of our patients throughout their care, and can help take away the fear of falling during therapy. If you or someone you know is at risk for a fall, call today to set up a FREE FALL RISK ASSESSMENT.

We provide outstanding treatment for patients with:

8337 Hwy 72 W Ste 102 | Madison, AL 35758 | 256.319.6515

Vertigo / Dizziness

Fall Risk

Meniere’s Disease



Closed Head Injuries



Pelvic Health

General/post op orthopedics

I’m sure everyone is looking forward to a happy summer. In early spring at the onset of the pandemic, many of us felt like deer caught in the headlights. Now that we have somewhat settled in to this new normal and are continuing to learn more about the situation and how we can go about our lives, I am feeling more optimistic. I hope you are as well. History has shown that our world has made it through tougher times and flourished. As publisher of two publications in the Tennessee Valley, we have the opportunity to review all sorts of content. While tragedy will always get a lot of attention, we like to look for the bright spots. Especially in times of unrest that we seem to be experiencing currently around the country. There are always bright spots. As Mr. Rogers would say, “Look for the helpers.” And that is just what we are doing with our ongoing editorial, Huntsville Heroes. These people are selfless individuals, who, in the face of adversity, give of themselves to make the world around them brighter. Imagine if all of us were more like these people. What would the world be like then? We hope you enjoy this issue of EVENT. Please shop with the advertisers you see supporting our efforts, and don’t forget to tell them you saw them in EVENT Magazine! Happy Summer!



A Letter from the Publisher


President/Publisher Todd Stephenson Editor Lori Boatfield Writers Sandy Ashley Kimberly Ballard Lori Connors Suzanne Conway Nina E. Woody Contributing Writers Judy Ryals Creative Director/ Graphic Design/Layout Patty Satterly Graphic Design/Website Jim Gharib/IG Webs Graphic Design Amy Pearson Lead Photographer Steve Babin Photographers Jessa Harris Mark Jaeger Stephanie E. Jennings Chris Jensen Chuck Mitchell Gary Patterson Jeff White Director of Sales Carolyn Stephenson Account Executives Michelle Epling Lee Nast Amanda Peach Distribution Glenda Mace Huntsville EVENT Magazine is published bi-monthly by Event Magazine, LLC, P.O. Box 14219, Huntsville, AL 35815 For advertising information please call 256.533.8078 or e-mail advertise@eventhuntsville.com For editorial information or to request coverage of an event, please visit our web site at www.eventhuntsville.com

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION Huntsville EVENT Magazine is published bi-monthly by EVENT Magazine, LLC. Although the magazine is distributed free throughout the area in Athens, Decatur, Fayetteville, Guntersville, Huntsville, Madison and Owens Cross Roads, paid subscriptions are available for $50.00 annually. For new subscriptions or changes of address, call 256.533.8078 or email subscriptions@eventhuntsville.com. All contents © 2020. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents without the prior written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Huntsville Event Magazine is a registered trademark of Event Magazine, LLC. All rights reserved. Unsolicited photographs or articles are submitted at the risk of the photographer or author. Event Magazine, LLC assumes no liability for the return of any unsolicited materials and may use them at its discretion.

Todd Stephenson President/Publisher

Scan the QR Code below to visit our website eventhuntsville.com Follow us on


To Submit an Ad or Event to EVENT Magazine please call us 256.533.8078 or visit our website eventhuntsville.com






2326 Whitesburg Drive, Huntsville, Alabama, 35801











Banking that fits your life, not the other way around. Time Magazine's Money.com named Renasant bank the Best Bank in the South.


4245 Balmoral Dr SW Huntsville, AL 35801 256.382.2811


200 West Side Square, Ste 101 Huntsville, AL 35801 256.382.2819


7600 Highway 72 West Madison, Alabama 35758 256.716.4600



Editor’s Note

Happy Summer Huntsville. It’s a summer like no other! While our lives are getting back to normal a bit, there are still a lot of ways that we are living in a completely different world. In this issue, we honor this year’s graduates. What a year for the class of 2020! We’ve had a little fun of our own with the graduation theme, and we salute grads with our photos as seniors. One way we’re adjusting to our ever-evolving world, is to add an editorial feature, Huntsville Heroes, to highlight people in our community who are working through the pandemic to help those in need. In this issue, we feature Mary Pat Riley, who with Tiffany Watkins coordinated the effort to provide thousands of quality cloth masks to people and groups in our area. We feature Ashley Shelton Davis, who used her contacts and social media presence to spearhead the gathering of groceries and food for children and the elderly. And we feature Fran Fluhler, who, along with her army of volunteers at Manna House, ramped up their efforts during the pandemic to include delivering meals to people limited by illness or COVID concerns. We were extra excited to cover the VIP Night at Tom Brown’s restaurant. It was wonderful to sit in the upscale eatery, enjoy the excitement in the air, and dine from their amazing menu. As you know, our advertisers are the reason behind the magic of our magazine. Without them, we couldn’t put this publication into your hands, nor would we have the chance to shine a light on the people and organizations that make our community a wonderful place to live. Shop with them whenever you can. Eat at their tables and utilize their services. And don’t forget to tell them you saw them right here in EVENT! Congratulations to the Class of 2020, we salute our Huntsville Heroes, and air hugs to all,

Lori Boatfield Editor



Follow us on

Ashley & Tom Brown

Tommy & Debbie Overcash

Laura & Dale Strong

Lori & Jason Boatfield

Rusty Savage, Karen Pearson, Judy & Dave Ryals


Tom Brown’s Restaurant VIP Evening Photos by Steve Babin Tom Brown’s Restaurant, Madison’s newest premium-casual eatery, held a VIP Night on May 30 before their grand opening in June. With an inviting atmosphere that fosters genuine Southern hospitality, guests were greeted by soaring ceilings, fun and funky art, gold leaf and velvet. Chandeliers outdoors and in sparkled overhead while staff bustled, welcoming family, friends and special guests. Owner and Head Chef Tom Brown and wife Ashley describe themselves as hands-on, enjoying their interaction with guests. They were joined at the VIP night by their family; friend and business partner Paul Daley; plus marketing professionals Amanda Homelvig and Brenda Pearce; who all took time to make diners comfortable, ensuring each detail was complete. Also in attendance was the Brown’s daughter, artist Kenzie Johnston, who is responsible for much of the art in the restaurant. The robust menu includes just-flown-in-seafood and the signature 38-ounce TOMahawk steak. Diners can’t go wrong with starters like Mean Green Egg Rolls stuffed with pulled-pork and collard greens; a perfectly-prepared filet mignon accompanied by whipped cauliflower and roasted vegetables; plus a bountiful bar menu that features craft beers by the hundreds, fine wine and frothy cocktail concoctions to cool a summer evening. n continued on page 24

Todd & Carolyn Stephenson, Leslie Chittam, Mark Ardin

Karson Johnston, Baileigh Payne, Kenzie Johnston, Patti Vogt, Isla Homelvig


Raul & Amy Piers

See and purchase photos from this event at www.eventhuntsville.com

Brittany & Shane Lindsey

A 昀nancial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

Ameriprise is rated #1 in the investment industry for trust.


most trusted1


101 Lowe Ave, Suite 1A • Huntsville, AL 35801 1 Ameriprise Financial was rated #1 in the investment industry for trust according to the Temkin Group 2018 Trust Ratings. The Temkin Trust Ratings (TTR) is an openly available loyalty benchmarking metric. When companies have earned trust, their customers are willing to believe their claims and are more inclined to work with the company. The TTR is based on consumer feedback of their recent interactions with companies. Consumers were asked “to what degree do you TRUST that these companies will take care of your needs?” Responses are on a scale from 1= “do not trust at all” to 7= “completely trust.” TTR is calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that gave a rating of 6 or 7 and subtracting the percentage that gave a rating of 1, 2, or 3. See www.temkinratings.com for more. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2020 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.



Tom Brown’s VIP Night continued

Roseanna Cox, Sherry Venable, Sarah Brown, Lovina Gross Megan & Brandon Smith


Geoff Vosen, Amanda Peach

Steve & Donna Haraway

Lincoln & Aprle Hudson

Sandy & Amy Patel


Dusty & Whitney Pritchett

Sandra & Jeff Stephens

Debbie, Darrell & Kristi Lane

Amy & Jim Moore

Lori & John Few

See and purchase photos from this event at www.eventhuntsville.com

The Art of Beauty When you are happy about your appearance, you feel more confident. Dr. Tony Weaver’s artistic ability reframes his patients’ lives through natural-looking enhancements that are timeless. By creating aesthetic balance, Dr. Weaver achieves life-improving results.

(256) 265-6851



FLASHBACK - July August 2014

Dana & Madison Mayor Troy Trulock

American Cancer Society Honors Survivors Written by Kimberly Ballard


Jack & Deanne Hingel

Barbara Garrison, Leslie & Joe Vallely

Lexie Corder, Halle Koonce, Abbie McKee

Photos by Steve Babin

Some of us didn’t know when we saw Leslie Vallely at the Cancer Survivor’s Dinner on Friday, April 25th that we wouldn’t see her again. She and Denise Reichert were co-winners of the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) 2014 Aaron Smith Continuing the Fight Award presented during the dinner at Mayfair Church of Christ. Leslie was a breast cancer survivor who later fought valiantly against leukemia, only to lose that battle a few weeks later on June 13th. The Survivors Dinner is a precursor to the Relay for Life and an open door to any cancer survivor. Mayfair has thrown open their doors of their church for the dinner, which is catered free by the Texas Roadhouse. They and Nothing Bundt Cakes each donated 500 meals and desserts making the dinner 100 percent free to the Survivors. “The Continuing the Fight award is presented to someone who made a difference with patients while dealing with cancer themselves,” said Kevin Sims, senior manager over ACS North Alabama. “Both Denise and Leslie were currently in treatment. We felt they were equally deserving of the recognition.” Presented by the Center for Cancer Care, the keynote speaker Grant Vosburgh is a cancer survivor from southern Tennessee who served as Division Relay Advisory Team chair, and is a Tennessee Relay volunteer. His involvement in Relay For Life is personal, but he has become an inspiration to all who know him. n

Kevin Sims, Sandi Perkins, Angela & Bradley Turner, Edna Fails, Brandy Davis, Dawn McDonnell


Laura Hamner, Jill Wilson, Beth Falkenberg, Emily Pauli

Ethan Worcester, Cristina Lynn

Janet & Charles Brinkerhoff



(2 5 6 )8 1 -1 2 7 @MOBHUNTSVILLE







Feature: Huntsville Heroes

Saluting Huntsville Heroes At Huntsville EVENT, we’re in the business of celebrating and saluting heroes. We get to highlight them each issue, whether it’s at an event, or in the Spotlight feature. But during the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve had a chance to share stories of how people are literally saving lives. Whether it be by using their circle of influence to inspire “viral volunteerism,” as Hero Ashley Shelton Davis so aptly put it, or anticipating needs that would arise, these heroes have fed and protected thousands of people in our community. Join us in saluting their efforts.






Mary Pat Riley North Alabama Mask Makers 30

Feature: Huntsville Heroes Written by Nina E. Woody

Photos by Steve Babin

Mary Pat Riley has a passion for learning, helping and nature. Some of her local interests are Maple Hill Cemetery, Botanical Gardens, North Alabama Land Trust, Historic Huntsville Foundation and Burritt Museum. She is a retired Blossomwood teacher, a graduate of Lee High School and the University of Alabama. In March of this year, Warren Tidwell of Hometown Organizing Project, realized that COVID-19 was going to impact all areas of Alabama, so he reached out to regional disaster leaders and asked them to activate groups to help essential workers obtain protective cloth masks. He contacted Tiffany Watkins from Ardmore, who recruited Mary Pat Riley to oversee the counties of Madison, Limestone, and Morgan as North Alabama Mask Makers (NAMM,) one of eight “sister” groups of mask makers throughout the state. Although neither Watkins nor Riley sew, they organized a Facebook page asking for help to produce as many high-quality cloth masks as possible. Riley explained, “Immediately, we got responses from other like-minded people who donated sewing supplies, time, and talent to begin sewing masks.” Initially, the goal of North Alabama Mask Makers was to provide the nine major hospitals in North Alabama with masks. Within days, they had a base of about 30 people who jumped in to sew from their homes. Other people volunteered to help, including picking up or delivering items wherever they were needed.

“The beauty of this generous group is that we have not met most of these people, and we never know from day to day who will be available to do the tasks required to get masks made and delivered. We estimate that we have approximately 100+ active volunteers at any given time,” Riley said. “While the group’s original goal was to cover as many essential medical workers as possible in the nine major hospitals of North Alabama, hospitals began to receive professional equipment,” Riley clarified. “But we were soon receiving requests for masks in doctor’s and dentist’s offices, medical clinics, food banks, nursing homes, veterans’ homes, individuals with immune deficiencies, children’s services, workmen and maids entering private homes, United Way agencies, hospice workers, first responders, funeral home workers, clergy, homeless populations and many other people who need masks to protect them in their daily lives.”

of this group. Wayne Farms donated 400 pounds of fresh chicken tenderloins which was distributed through the emergency food bank,” Riley said. NAMM vets every request for masks, then requests are filled in the order they come in, to be fair to all. Requests are confidential and all NAMM masks are free. Riley said of the process, “In order to keep everyone as safe as possible, we set up different ‘drop sites’ throughout our North Alabama area.” Each site has a large plastic tub on a friendly porch that is used like a mailbox to deliver needed supplies, turn in finished masks, and as a pickup point for the filled requests. Items are dropped into the tubs and recipients are notified when they can pick them up. “It is all done with minimal contact and feels like the Pony Express!”

Another opportunity to help turned into the chance to provide food for those in need. Riley related, “Wayne Farms in Decatur reached out for help with masks. They had implemented extra sanitation stations and were providing the paper mask for their employees, but the paper masks weren’t holding up well in the wet environment. The solution was a cloth mask over the paper mask to help them last longer and further protect their employees.” For the processing plant, 1,000 masks were needed. Riley reached out for help in fulfilling this large request. The Birmingham Face Masks group stepped up to help. “They were grateful and offered to donate chicken. Since we provided some masks for United Church and Huntsville Helping Hands, who are running an emergency food bank, we gladly accepted on behalf

For those who want to help, NAMM is seeking dedicated seamstresses. Financial donations can be made to www.hometownorganizing.org to purchase needed supplies. n


Ashley Shelton Davis

Spearheading The Charge to Feed Those in Need


Feature: Huntsville Heroes Written by Nina E. Woody because of scarcity, Davis created a social media group and asked friends to allow her to use their businesses as collection points. Davis said, “So many people stepped up, and during this time we were able to mobilize enough businesses and people that we helped raise awareness for Lunches of Love. We provided prepackaged food for over 1,200 kids and families from Lincoln Village, Kids to Love and into Section 8 housing.” This effort led to more efforts, conversations, and revelations. Davis’ friend Chanda Crutcher, director of the Legacy Center, asked her to join in taking sanitizer and masks and COVID-19 awareness to the elderly sheltering in place in government housing. That led to $5 snack packs, which led to grocery bags, which led to a government grant to provide 2,500 boxes of food and milk from the USDA. “Until the grant kicked in, we held weekly food drives at Insanity Complex in Madison where businesses and people brought the food that fed over 400 seniors, their caregivers, and their families every week,” Davis described. “Insanity wasn’t even open or able to generate revenue, but its general manager, Brenda Buschmann, sent her staff to help me feed people just as she had the first week with Lunches of Love.”

Photos by Steve Babin

Davis says of her involvement, “What I want to convey is how each person can make a difference in their own way and that there is power in one - one thought, one action, one idea. One action on my part can be the catalyst for the action or launching of another action by someone else. One person’s willingness to act can start a chain reaction and lead to ‘viral volunteerism.’” Davis attributes the resulting blessings to putting thoughts into actions. “I pray that other people react to viral volunteerism. I pray that others notice the needs of others. Be a light, be a spark, be a catalyst. If a single mom of four kids can do it, anyone can!” To help, visit Mission Firefly, The Legacy Center, Lincoln Village Ministries, Kids to Love or your favorite charity online. n

Ashley Shelton Davis is a Huntsville native that has served in many roles in the community and her career. From being a teacher and mom of four, to being a catalyst to spur what she terms “viral volunteerism.” Davis currently works as a mortgage loan officer at Supreme Lending. Davis explained how she got involved in helping feed people in need, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Back in March, I saw many people sharing the same post on Facebook which said that if anyone they knew needed food for their kids to please reach out. I thought about all aspects of [this situation.] I have been on every side it. I grew up in an affluent household, graduated from Randolph and college, and after an unfortunate course of events, I became financially destitute. The church council that I was once a board member on had to pay my utility bill and bring my children and me groceries before I mustered the courage to rebuild my life. I started my career after being a stay at home mom for 10 years by using my degree and teaching high school in Madison County. During my time in education, it was obvious that nutritional issues lead to a mountain of issues, so food has always been a way that I feel is easy to show love.” After reading the posts on Facebook, Davis said it came full circle for her. Her mother and a group of her friends pack lunches weekly for Lunches of Love, a backpack ministry that provides food to children in Madison County, Madison City, and Limestone County through the nonprofit Mission Firefly. Knowing that they would have trouble sourcing the groceries during this time


Fran Fluhler Manna House


Feature: Huntsville Heroes Written by Lori J. Connors

Photos by Steve Babin

Seth Penn and his wife Kelsey have been volunteering since March. “We do a lot of mission work,” said Penn. “When the pandemic hit, travel was out of the question.” Over the past few months, the Penns have made a lot of new friends. “My favorite is the relationships,” said Penn. “Some don’t have family; we are their family. Being able to communicate and to be able to relate, we are literally giving people hope.” For Garrett Chapin, a disabled Army veteran and Manna House volunteer, it’s about helping people with nowhere else to go. “We get to be their light,” said Chapin. Fluhler will always credit the volunteers first and foremost, “They are the heart, soul and sweat equity of what keeps Manna House running. Without them, there would not be a Manna House.” However, the empathy, energy, and enthusiasm Fluhler possesses is the driving force and inspiration for the highly motivated, effective volunteer squad. n

The Deep South heat and humidity are brutal in north Alabama; the rain offers no relief. In fact, it creates a sticky steamy sense of the unbearable. The afternoon’s pop-up torrential downpour hit fast and hard. Despite the weather, there’s always a line at the door. On any given Monday, Wednesday or Thursday, the line begins to form early, sometimes as early as 10 a.m., even though the doors don’t officially open until 3:00 p.m. during the week and at 11:30 on Saturdays. In addition to being hungry, some also have physical limitations, making it hard to stand for long periods of time. A few years ago, some kind souls donated the funds for an awning to combat the weather and benches to relieve the fatigue. Fran Fluhler, Manna House’s director begins each shift with a group huddle. Communication is key. Nobody is left out of the information loop. Fluhler reminds everyone to be pleasant to the incoming line of people, to put them at ease. “No matter what our feet feel like, our faces need to smile,” said Fluhler.

Except for the brand-new volunteers just arriving, Fluhler greets everyone by their first name. Not only does she know their names, she knows their stories. While her breadth and depth of knowledge is astonishing, Fran Fluhler is also a woman of unlimited compassion and humility. For the past sixteen years, Manna House has met the challenges of feeding the hungry of Huntsville and Madison County. Despite Huntsville’s long-standing reputation as the Rocket City, home of a highly educated, highly compensated high-tech population, there exists a large pocket of poverty, almost hidden just below the surface of affluence. Along with poverty comes food insecurity, where grownups and children alike may miss meals due to a lack of food or the means to acquire that food.

The meeting concludes with group prayer. Then, it’s time to start preparing the serving lines. There are at least 50 volunteers at the facility – all doing their part; preparing the hot meals, packing kid’s meals, and lining up to help pass out the vast assortment of produce and meats. Along with the large group of volunteers working to prepare for the day’s arrivals, many more are already on the road delivering meals to those who are limited by illness or COVID-19 concerns.

COVID-19 only served to increase the number of people lining up each day. Along with many in the hospitality and service industries, there were schoolaged children also in need of food. For many, the school lunch program is their one guaranteed meal of the day. With the school closures, Manna House provided 4,000 meals to kids in the Huntsville City School system from March to May. These meals were in addition to their ongoing weekend backpack program which partners churches with local area elementary schools in need. The backpack program provides between 300-400 meals to kids per school.

As an enthusiastic force of nature, Fluhler quickly moves from one area to the next, providing instructions to the volunteers while simultaneously giving a brief tour of the over-stacked and over-stuffed facilities.

The group of volunteers are a broad mix of age, race, gender, education, and background. Everyone works together as a team to keep the lines moving and to make sure everyone has enough food.


2020 2021 season SUBSCRIBE TODAY! 256.539.4818 www.hso.org



FLASHBACK - July August 2011

People • Places • Parties

Sherry Ann & Dr. Mark Pullen

Betty Hornsby, Elizabeth Tubbs, Joanna Collins, Sherry Ann Pullen, Stacey Huckaby, Wimberly Watts

A Roast to Remember Written by Lori Connors

Photos by Gary Patterson

Roughly 200 of Huntsville dentist Mark Pullen’s closest friends witnessed him endure a raucous roasting at the 6th annual A Roast to Remember benefitting the Alzheimers Association. Emceed by Dr. Gary Huckaby Jr., Pullen was grilled over the car he drives and his fabulous head of hair, just for starters. The crew of hecklers included Huckaby, Dr. Ron Collins, Ralph Hornsby Jr. and Debra Jenkins. The Charlie Lyle Combo provided the atmosphere as the evening started off with cocktails and socializing. The silent auction presented a wide array of goodies including vacations, a Westin membership package, a spa package from Blue MedSpa, a set of Bear Bryant Bookends and $500 worth of gasoline.

Michelle Cain, Tom Paul, Don Palmer

Kayla & Jake Noel

w w w. e v e n t h u n t s v i l l e. c o m

According to the Alzheimers Association’s director of development Jib McLain, “The roast is just a little different than the usual fundraising event and draws a very different crowd.” The Alzheimers Association also hosts The Walk to End Alzheimers and Are you Smarter than an Alabama 5th Grader? events each year. McLain feels that hosting three distinct events allows the Alzheimers Association to reach the broader HuntsvilleMadison demographic.

Dr. Ron Collins, Betty Hornsby, Dr. Mark Pullen

Of Pullen’s roasting, McLain stated, “Dr. Pullen was selected because he’s a local boy and he likes to give back to the community. This is a cause that’s near and dear to him.” The money raised goes to the organization’s local chapter, which assists with research and education as well as helps families who are living with Alzheimers. “Although Alzheimers is getting diagnosed at an earlier stage than ever before, there are no survivors of Alzheimers; no one ever gets cured,” McLain added. n continued on page 40


Amy & Jason Miller

Shellia Clarke, Jeff Cagle



People • Places • Parties

FLASHBACK - July August 2011

A Roast to Remember continued

Jib McLain, John & Wimberly Watts

Jan Allen, Tabitha Harrison, Debra Cornelius

Jeff & Barbara Ann Walker, Beth Ragland

Ashley Dinges, Alan Jenkins, Claire Lindsay

Dr. Paul & Lisa McCrary

w w w. e v e n t h u n t s v i l l e. c o m

Gail Davis, John & Martha Collins

Sheila Collins, Chanda Mills-Crutcher

Don Palmer, Desiree Palmer, Connie & Charles Greer


April & Mark Russell

Live Legendary “If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit – you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”

- Paul W. “ Bear” Bryant



Congratulations Class of 2020! We’re honored to salute you here. Though your ceremonies may have been postponed or canceled, that cannot diminish your accomplishments or dim your prospects. We wish you the very best as you take your first steps into the future.


Macie Banks Huntsville High School

Daniel Coleman

Ashley Howard

Huntsville High School

Huntsville High School

Olivia Wintzell

Jordan Hanks

Jackson Hanks

Covenant Christian Academy

Auburn University Bachelor of Science Supply Chain Management

Auburn University Bachelor of Science Business Analytics

Laura Green Nelson

Anna Whitley Block

Grissom High School National Honors

University of Alabama Masters degree in Accounting Summa Cum Laude

Avery Herr Huntsville High School

Brooke Anderson

Savannah Ashton Stevens

Parker Kidd

University of Alabama Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology - Cum Laude

East Limestone High School

Covenant Christian Academy


Alethia Jordan

Emirrah Sanders

Jessalyn Peoples

Shanteres King

Athens State University Bachelors of Science in HR Management

Alabama A&M University Bachelors of Science in Chemistry

Alabama A&M University Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Alabama A&M University Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Sponsored by The WEDC Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit created in 1998 by the Women’s Economic Development Council. Our mission is to empower women in our community to achieve self-sufficiency and economic independence by providing one-on-one mentors, professional networking, development workshops, and flexible financial assistance. Our desire is to give a hand up to women in North Alabama, striving to achieve their goals and dreams through higher education. Applications for the program are accepted annually from January - April. Visit wedcfoundation.org for more information and to support our cause.


Latasha Bird

Samira Hopkinson

Lashanna Turner

Andrea Berry

Alabama A&M University Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education

Alabama A&M University Bachelors of Science in Communicative Sciences & Disorders

Drake State Community & Technical College Associates in Electrical Technology - Advanced Manufacturing

Drake State Community & Technical College Associates in Nursing

private dining We specialize in custom designed events and menus and oć˜€er four private dining rooms.

Call us today to plan your special event:

256.704.5555 thebottledowntown.com





Why choose Southern States Bank? Here are a NUMBER of reasons

150+ employees

5-STAR bank rating from Bauer Financial


Voted one of the Best Places to Work by Business Alabama in


Recognized among the

100 TOP

Performing Community Banks in 2016 by S&P Global Market Intelligence

2014 15

full service branches in Alabama & Georgia

in community sponsorships throughout our footprint

Established in



Billion in assets

Ranked among

TOP 200

healthiest banks by Deposit Accounts

Huntsville | 256.382.1490 415 Church Street NW | Building H, Suite 100 | Huntsville, AL www.southernstatesbank.net ALABAMA Anniston | Auburn | Birmingham | Heflin | Huntsville | Opelika | Ranburne | Roanoke | Sylacauga | Wedowee GEORGIA Atlanta (LPO) | Carrollton | Columbus | Dallas | Newnan

Follow us: NMLS #410611



Huntsville Happenings Written by Judy S. Ryals, Pres./CEO Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau

The hospitality industry has been hit hard by this pandemic, just as it has impacted many other industries throughout our community. As the marketing umbrella organization for the hospitality industry, the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau works to bring conventions, conferences, trade shows, sporting events, motorcoach and leisure business to the area. Close to 19,000 people are employed in the hospitality industry in Madison County. With the onset of the health crisis, many of the hotels, attractions, restaurants, retail establishments, entertainment, and meeting facilities were closed, and many of their employees furloughed or laid off. Local hotels had few guest rooms sold, which in turn limited the need for room attendants, front desk personnel, and other key service staff members. Thankfully, the number of rooms being sold is picking up. Governor Ivey’s amended Safer at Home order allowed attractions, entertainment venues and youth sports to resume activities with certain restrictions in place. The Huntsville Botanical Garden’s re-opening showed that while the majority of their first visitors were either local or Alabama residents, a significant number came from other states. This is a very encouraging sign. You can make a difference by including a visit to a local attraction in your return to activities and take your support to the next level by becoming a member at all your favorite local attractions. The Convention & Visitors Bureau is working diligently to keep our residents updated with the latest news, and our marketing department has worked hard to keep our website, Huntsville.org, up to date. They produced a video “Hope Is Not Cancelled” in an effort to boost morale and stay positive about the future. We continue to support the restaurants with information on our website regarding pick-up and delivery options along with on-site dining as long as proper distancing and other rules are followed. I would like to thank everyone who has supported the restaurants during the last few months, and encourage you to participate in Huntsville Restaurant Week in August. It will be an outstanding way to show your continued support of local dining establishments. Our team is working hard to find new dates for conferences, conventions, and meetings at the Von Braun Center. We are contacting meeting planners and working closely with the Von Braun Center sales team, to ensure new meeting dates can be secured, and that the conferences will be rescheduled rather than cancelled. We have adjusted our out-of-market advertising to a closer regional emphasis. As we resume our promotional efforts, we will initially encourage leisure travelers to drive to our community, and expand that campaign to include air travel, as we welcome back meetings and conventions to Huntsville. We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful area with lots of outdoor spaces, great attractions, wonderful dining options, and many events that help us sell our destination. Area residents are the best source for bringing business to our community. If you are a member of an association who may be interested in hosting an event in Huntsville, please contact us and let us help you. We can assist you in securing the conference, help during the planning process, and provide many free services to make the planning easy for you, such as on-site registration assistance, nametags, and promotional emails, just to name a few. I commend our city, county, and state government leaders for their direction and leadership during this very difficult time. I’m optimistic that the hospitality industry will come back stronger than ever, and we are ready to welcome guests to our city as soon as they are comfortable traveling. We are thankful for our partnerships with organizations such as ArtsHuntsville, the Huntsville-Madison County Hospitality Association, Downtown Huntsville Inc., the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association and the Alabama Tourism Department and others in the promotion of the community. We are excited to be welcoming visitors back to our community with the southern hospitality for which we are known. n



FLASHBACK - July August 2009


Gala Touches Heart of Huntsville Written by Kimberly Ballard

Photos by Chris Jensen

The sixth annual “Touch of Red” Gala highlighted the impact of vital Red Cross services on our community. Sponsored by Jerry Damson Honda Acura, the event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Red Cross in North Alabama. The evening began with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by singer Dave McConnell performing Frank Sinatra favorites over an elegant dinner. Gala co-chairs John Ofenloch and Leslie Shields opened the program with three testimonials that included the moving story of a family of four whose lives were changed by a house fire, and the support of that family by the local Red Cross in the aftermath. Lite 96.9 on-air personality John Malone was emcee, and professional auctioneer Dr. Kendall Black live-auctioned eleven big-ticket items. Lucky bidders won jewelry, a getaway weekend complete with the use of a Red Mercedes convertible donated by Regal Nissan, and two distinguished dinners with Mayor Tommy Battle and Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning. For anyone who did not participate or acquire items in the silent or live auctions, Dr. Black opened the floor to a Hope Campaign, in which attendees made individual donations. Dancing to the music of Junctional Rhythm concluded a wonderful evening. According to Executive Director, Mary Moreillon, “The evening was by RSVP only; however, as media sponsors, the Huntsville Times, Lite 96.9, and FOX 54 helped us promote the Gala to the public.”

Gail & Rex Geveden

Lindsey & Brian Maples

The Madison/Marshall County Chapter of the American Red Cross has served North Alabama for 93 years. The essential humanitarian services they provide include disaster relief, service to the Armed Forces, volunteer development, lifesaving training, and preparedness education. The American Red Cross provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply. n continued on page 50

w w w. e v e n t h u n t s v i l l e. c o m

Pam Hudson, Brandi Daves, Ronnie Daves, Sonia Robinson

Jim & Judy Link, Abby & Courtney Guasti


Touch of Red Gala Committee



FLASHBACK - July August 2009

A Touch of Red continued

John & Brenda Hall

Linda & Jerry Schoo

Lisa D’Agostino, Cynthia Almodovar, Dana Fristoe

John & Julie Malone

Steve & Kathy Neyman

Penny Billings, Kendall Black (Auctioneer)

Richard & Barbara Pendleton

w w w. e v e n t h u n t s v i l l e. c o m

eventhuntsville❤com It’s what’s happening in Huntsville


Jason & Lynn Threet

Merit Bank is proud to call North Alabama home and we look forward to serving our community.

659 Gallatin Street Huntsville, Alabama 35801 256.692.8700


NMLS: 786089



FLASHBACK - July August 2009


Classic Goes y r t n u o C Written by Sandy Ashley

Photos by Chuck Mitchell

Country music fans and Huntsville Hospital Foundation supporters “teed it up” for a cure at the Huntsville Classic Dinner. The 21st annual event benefited Huntsville Hospital’s oncology programs. Guests mingled over “Classic coolers” during the cocktail hour, and were seated on the floor level of the VBC Arena for a fabulous dinner and a live destination auction of vacation getaways. Halsey Wise, who chaired the event, energized the crowd as he expressed that the proceeds assist in funding programs that turn cancer patients into cancer survivors, and “help provide the best health care in our community.”

Frank & Lisa Caprio, Mike & Susan Goodman

The evening’s highlight, a lively concert by legendary country musician Randy Travis, filled the arena with even more supporters and music fans. Dinner attendees kept their arena floor seats for the performance. Travis belted out many of his phenomenally popular country classics including “Diggin’ up Bones” and “He Walked on Water.” Revived country standards like “King of the Road” kept the audience tapping their toes and singing along. Travis thanked Huntsville for the opportunity to play at the Classic: “It’s an honor to be here. You could have had anyone play for you tonight.” n continued on page 54

Randy Travis

Chris Welch, Mayor Tommy Battle, Kevin Wendt, Ashley Dinges

w w w. e v e n t h u n t s v i l l e. c o m

Mary Lynne & “Boots” Wright

Melissa DeBolt, Candy Burnett, Susan Ready


Cindy & David Spillers

safe summer fun is closer than you think

Whether you want to slip and slide through SoundWaves, our upscale indoor/outdoor water attraction, explore our luxurious gardens, or enjoy live entertainment and family-friendly activities— summer fun is waiting for you.

Book now at GaylordOpryland.com

FLASHBACK - July August 2009

Huntsville Classic continued

Bill Salter, Susan Ready, Jean Salter Susan & Emmett Smith, Cindy Koepplinger, Marti & Rony Najjar

David & Patsy William, Jennifer & Steve Greene Kristi & Joe Kelly

Nina & Terry Roberts, Sheila Brown

Jim & Stephanie Owens, Melanie & Clay Vandiver

w w w. e v e n t h u n t s v i l l e. c o m

Tammy & Greg McKay, Greg & Judy Merijanian, Jeff & Cindy Prylinsky, Greg & Linore Bouska

Live Auction


Ben & Abby Ostrem

Joe Campbell, Shirley & John Blackwell