Marc Whitehead December 2018



December 2018

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Determination in the Face of Adversity How Our Winners Exemplify the Mission of Their Scholarships


communities and families. It’s something that hits close to home — Summer’s dad was injured during a deployment in Iraq and spent a lot of time at the Walter Reed Memorial Hospital in recovery. It was the experiences she had as a child watching her dad recover that motivated her career choice. “From the time I was 8, I have such a vivid memory of being at Walter Reed and growing up in this community,” Summer says. “Seeing my dad throughout hospital settings and the relationships he built with medical professionals was amazing. I wanted to be that person for somebody.”


Summer, Frances & Earl Perry Memorial Veterans Scholarship

T his month, we are honored to introduce you to the two very deserving recipients of our Frances & Earl Perry Memorial Veterans Scholarship and Flora Marie Jenkins Memorial Disability Scholarship. We received many incredible essays and read many incredible stories, but these two winners stood out as exemplary fits in each of the two categories. Beyond impressive academic and extracurricular records, Summer, the recipient of our Frances & Earl Perry Memorial Veteran’s Scholarship, and Brandon, the recipient of our Flora Marie Jenkins Memorial Disability Scholarship, have each faced challenging circumstances.They’ve not only risen above them, but have chosen to find hope and inspiration by helping others who are in similar situations.They exemplify the namesakes of each of the scholarships. Summer, the recipient of our Frances & Earl Perry Memorial Veteran’s Scholarship, is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In pursuit of her lifelong dream, she is currently in the process of applying to the college’s prestigious nursing school. She plans to use the scholarship toward her nursing degree at UNC and to take her knowledge to military






Brandon, Flora Marie Jenkins Memorial Disability Scholarship

Summer’s passion for giving back is a huge part of her life.Throughout high school, she volunteered with Gold Star Teen Adventures, a nonprofit organization that provides the teenagers of fallen service members an opportunity for healing, mentorship, leadership,


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As the Senior Insurance Litigation Paralegal at Marc Whitehead & Associates, Melanie oversees long-term disability claims and supports our attorneys working on LTD cases. Melanie has been with the firm for 24 years (next summer will be her 25th), and is familiar with the challenging circumstances that bring clients to us. “All their insurance has been cut off, and they’re in unfortunate circumstances, not just with their health, but also financially,” Melanie explains. “Some of these folks are trying to raise kids; some are trying to keep a roof over their heads.”These heart-wrenching situations motivate everyone at the firm to find resolutions for cases. As Melanie says, “We are all very passionate about what we do.We have to be.” Even after a long day working through claims, Melanie brings her compassionate and genuine disposition to everyone she interacts with, including her team. “My team is awesome,”Melanie says. “They all care about what they do.They’re conscientious self-starters and incredible human beings. I feel lucky to have those folks on my team. I tell them that quite often.” Another favorite way she shows her appreciation is with orders of cookies from La Madeleine’s bakery. It was after raising three beautiful, capable, and talented daughters that Melanie began working for our firm and found that she had an interest in the law. She wanted to learn more and asked for Marc’s sponsorship so she could attend paralegal school. As she says, “It’s worked out very well. Marc is incredibly good to us.” When asked what it’s like to work at the firm, Melanie shares her gratitude for the positive work environment here. “We are just blessed; we clearly are,” she says. “Everybody gets along and we have a great deal of respect for each other. We work hard and a lot of times are very busy, and even in those times, we watch out and take care of each other. We’re really lucky to have the working relationship that we do.” When the work day ends, Melanie puts on her grandma hat for the most adorable grandkids you could ever imagine. She has a grandson named Hudson, who’s 4, and a granddaughter named Paige, who’s 2.They live an hour outside of Nashville, so she visits often and makes her home open to them and her children with dinner and football games. Melanie sums up her home and work life best: “We’re very lucky over here.” The Senior Paralegal Matches Compassion and Dedication for the Win Melanie Shares Why She Feels Blessed

... continued from cover and character building. “Over the past five years, the organization has grown and has become such a huge part of my life,” Summer wrote in her essay. Summer says it’s difficult to find words to describe how much the scholarship means to her. “People don’t understand what a difference it makes to recipients. It’s amazing beyond words. This scholarship means an education for me,” Summer says. “It means a future.” Brandon, the recipient of the Flora Marie Jenkins Memorial Disability Scholarship, has also experienced adversity and risen to the challenge. A freshman at Butler University, Brandon was born with Poland Syndrome, a disorder which affects the left side of his body.The rare disorder results in missing or underdeveloped muscles on one side of the body, and Brandon had three surgeries before he turned 2 to improve his mobility. Even with treatment, he has limited strength in his left hand. It would have been easy to let these physical limitations define him, but Brandon has always had the mentality that he can do anything he sets his mind to. As he wrote in his essay, “I decided early on that I would never let my disability define me or prevent me from participating in something that brought me joy.” And he hasn’t. In addition to an impressive academic record, including being a member of the National Honor Society, Brandon has played sports from the time he was 4 and continued with football at the high school level on a team that won the 2016 State Championships. Continuing at a competitive level hasn’t always been easy, but Brandon has held true to the promise he made himself. “Although I have limited gripping ability in my hand, I still attend practice every day and compete with all my teammates,” he wrote. Brandon is using the scholarship toward his engineering degree at Butler University, with the eventual goal of completing a master’s degree. Brandon plans to use his education to design innovative technology solutions that cater to the needs of disabled people. As with his other endeavors, he is sure to overcome any hurdles he’ll face along the way. As Brandon says, “All of us face challenges in pursuit of our goals, but it’s how we react to those challenges that defines us as individuals.” Congratulations to Summer and Brandon. We are excited to see how these bright young people better their communities and everyone they come into contact with, and we are humbled to be a small part of their journey. -Marc Whitehead

Hurricane Hero Tony Alsup How One Man Saved Hundreds of Animals

Gulf Coast. When he finished there, his mission shifted to helping animals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. It’s said that character is defined by the way someone acts when no one is watching. Many people heard of Alsup’s bravery after the devastation of Florence, but as news stories turned to sports, politics, and business, America slowly moved on. Victims of the hurricane who lacked supplies received less national attention, but more than a month later, Alsup’s commitment to the cause was as strong as ever. Living out of the back of the bus for weeks, he drove pets out of the persistent flooding and convoyed shipments of desperately needed supplies to the coastal Carolina towns. You can follow Tony’s commitment on Facebook. He’s not asking for money or fame; he’s just a person with a heart to serve, using social media to promote awareness about those who desperately need our help. If you’re wondering what drives such a person, you can find it written at the bottom of every update he posts: “Love y’all, mean it.”

In the wake of destruction, it’s easy to focus on self-preservation. After all, fight-or-flight instincts are hard-wired into our brains so that we can survive dangerous situations. But while fear drives the actions of many in times of chaos, there are a few who find greater strength in compassion. Tony Alsup considered the potential devastation of Hurricane Florence as he sat comfortably in his home in Greeneville, Tennessee. Rather than sit back and watch, the truck driver by trade packed up an out-of- commission school bus he’d bought and set off to South Carolina with one goal in mind: to save as many animals as possible. Stopping by every shelter he found along the coast, Alsup rescued over 60 cats and dogs in both North and South Carolina and took them to Foley, Alabama. The heroic efforts of Alsup saved the lives of many animals, but it wasn’t the first time he’d rushed into danger for a good cause. He’d originally purchased the school bus, which he turned into Noah’s Ark last year, to save animals in Texas and Florida as Hurricane Harvey pounded the

Holiday Roast Prime Rib

Inspired by Food &Wine magazine


Puzzle Time!

• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped •

• 1 bone-in prime rib (6–7 pounds) • 2 cups red wine • 4 cups beef stock •

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced


5. To make au jus, place roasting pan with drippings from roast over 2 burners on high. Add wine and scrape pan as liquid reduces. Add beef stock and cook until reduced by half. Finally, sprinkle in thyme. 6. Slice roast and serve topped with au jus.

1. 30 minutes before cooking, remove roast from fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature. 2. Heat oven to 350 F. 3. Make small slits in prime rib and stuff with slices of garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper. 4. Place a rack inside a roasting pan and roast prime rib for 2 hours, until medium-rare.



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INSIDE This issue

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Our Scholarship Winners Meet Our Dedicated Team Hurricane Pet Hero Holiday Roast Prime Rib Everything You’ll Need for an Ugly Sweater Christmas Ugly Sweater Parties A Fun Trend You Can Easily Follow!

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in all types of clothing stores lined with hideous sweaters. If you’re ready to jump on the ugly-sweater-party bandwagon this Christmas season, here are

It’s speculated that the first ugly sweater party took place in Vancouver, Canada, back in 2001. Since then, the trend has become one of the most popular holiday party themes. Come Thanksgiving, you’ll start to see racks

a few things to keep in mind. Your Very Own Ugly Sweater

Ugly sweaters come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. You can head to H&M or a local thrift store to pick one up. However, if you have a sweater that’s been cozied up for years in the back of your closet or a drawer, now’s your chance to give it new life. Arm yourself with a hot glue gun, thread, and needle, and patch Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty on it. And let it be known that an ugly sweater isn’t complete without sparkles, beads, and sequins galore. What Exactly Is an Ugly Sweater Party? It’s rather simple — slip on your favorite Christmas sweater, gather all your friends and family members, make sure there are plenty of refreshments and games, and you’re guaranteed to have a top-tier party. A few ugly-sweater- themed games that should be on the agenda include an ugly gift exchange, which is similar to the white elephant exchange, except with the gaudiest gifts you can find; an ugly photo booth, complete with terrible, tacky props; and, of course, an ugly sweater contest. This is the only time of year when slipping into a lurid red sweater with a stuffed Santa sewn on the front is considered trendy. So adorn yourself in the frumpiest, tackiest sweater you can find, and have some fun this December!

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