Tracy Halloran, Meals on Wheels, Franklin

Often the most deserving heroes are also the most humble. So is the case with Tracy Halloran. Tracy, who grew up in the inner city of Chicago, has called Franklin, Tennessee home for the past seventeen years. For the past 14 years she has been a part of the local Meals on Wheels effort, first volunteering as a driver and in 2007 she took over as the Franklin coordinator for Monday, Wednesday and Friday MOW, originally founded by Janielle Westbrook.

Melissa Wenger, Gigi's Playhouse

GiGi's Playhouse, a national achievement center for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community has just opened a Nashville location. Offering more than 25 therapeutic and educational programs focused on advancing literacy, math skills, motor skills and more all free of charge. Local mother, Melissa Wenger, whose child has Down syndrome, along with her child's teacher, decided there were not enough resources in Nashville for people with Down Syndrome and lead the vision of bringing GiGi's Playhouse to Nashville.

Laura Chavarria, Williamson County Animal Services

As Director of Williamson County Animal Services, Laura Chavarria has improved the adoption experience with a remodel of the front office area, lobby TV monitors, skylights and an improvement in general shelter cleanliness. A firm believer in the power of marketing, Chavarria has implemented several successful monthly adoption campaigns like Summer of Love, the 31 Days of October, and Home for the Holidays hoping to capture the attention of the local community.

Car Carlson, Men of Valor

After a childhood filled with neglect, abuse, abandonment, foster homes and trouble with the law, on the heels of serving time in Vietnam with the military, Carl Carlson made some bad choices and ended up in the state penitentiary on an armed robbery charge. It was during his time in prison that Carl found Christ and from that point on has dedicated his life to help the less fortunate and the ostracized in our society.

Gayle Moyer Harris, 21st Judicial Drug Court

For the past 30 plus years, Gayle Moyer Harris, has helped shaped Williamson County through her work serving as a county commissioner. Because of her leadership helping to form the Williamson County Economic Development effort and Franklin Tomorrow as well as her service on the Board of Directors for the Williamson County Public Library, YMCA of Middle Tennessee and the Board of Directors for the Community Housing Partnership of Williamson County and her efforts serving as the inaugural director of the 21st Judicial District Drug Court.

Kennette Pyles, Ryan Pyles Aquatic Foundation

In 8 years Kennette Pyles taught survival skills in the Nashville area to more than 1,000 local infants and young children. After loosing her own son Ryan to a tragic drowning, she also helped to create the Ryan Pyles Aquatic Foundation to help prevent childhood drowning.

Dorie Bolze, Harpeth River Watershed Association

Dorie Bolze has spent her career committed to conservation. For over 15 years she led the Harpeth River Watershed Association based in Williamson County. Her commitment to the preservation and restoration of environmental resources, including the Harpeth River, has made a tremendous difference in communities across Middle Tennessee.

Ellie Ambrose, Ellie's Run for Africa

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. 

Christian Kissinger, VSA International

At the tender age of 7 Christian Kissinger convinced his mother to take on a position that led to her starting a statewide branch of VSA International, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in and express themselves through the arts and arts education. And over the years he has helped VSA Tennessee in multiple ways, from meeting with the legislators in Washington, D.C. lobbying for the cause, to performing for children with disabilities to help inspire them to reach their goals.

Tommy Heithcock, Peytonsville Volunteer Fire Department

Retired Franklin police officer, Tommy Heithcock, spent 36 years serving as a police officer in Williamson County, 26 of those with the City of Franklin. He's also been a volunteer with Peytonsville's Volunteer Fire Department, currently serving as the President of their board. Throughout his work and his life he's approached it all in a show up and help however you can way and has been a longtime trusted source of assistance in his community.

Judy Suter, Camp TAG

Twenty years ago Judy Suter was faced with the unthinkable when her then 27 year old brother took his own life. When she began looking into the community for bereavement assistance for herself and her young children she found resources were limited. She then took it upon herself to perform a needs analysis, and with a pocket full of determination and courage, voiced her concerns to the governing bodies and asked permission to take a group of children to camp.

Paul Fleenor, Tennessee Fisher House

It was a spot on the news that piqued retired Army Colonel Paul Fleenor's interest in Honor Flight and lead to him to spearhead the efforts to bring the program to Middle Tennessee. Founded as an attempt to insure that as many WWII Veterans as possible get the chance to travel to Washington D.C. to see the memorial dedicated to their heroic efforts, the Honor Flight Program provides the trip, free of charge, to as many veterans as possible. After seeing the spotlight on the Honor Flight Program Fleenor traveled to Washington D.C. to learn more. "Seeing the World War II Memorial during that trip inspired me to come home and begin the process of organizing the Honor Flight Hub in the middle Tennessee area", shared Fleenor.

Nicole Cochran, Mid South Chapter of the National MS Society

'Picture of humility', 'a generous heart', 'an inspiration', 'dedicated' are just a few of the words used to describe Nicole Cochran by those who know and love her. It is for her love of community, kind heart and inspiring story as a single foster mother that she was honored as a Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero.

Julian Bibb, Franklin's Charge

Local attorney and philanthropist Julian Bibb has spent a lifetime supporting, founding and spearheading numerous nonprofits. From Leadership Franklin, which he co-founded, to Franklin's Charge, the Heritage Foundation and many, many more, Bibb's hard work has profoundly altered the landscape of Williamson County.

Kim Milliken & Lori Woodard-Hoyt, Clinton's Club

For a parent there is nothing harder than having a sick child, or even worse losing that child. Kim Milliken learned this the hard way when one month before her son's fifth birthday he was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a form a brain cancer. And while her son Clinton lost his battle in January, Kim and close family friend Lori Woodard-Hoyt are making sure that his sweet spirit lives on with Clinton's Club, a local nonprofit that provides help to other families with sick children as well as raises awareness of the needs of these families.

Mark Fry, Mid South Chapter of the National MS Society

When Mark Fry was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis back in 1998 he choose to become an advocate & fund raiser to help provide support and work towards a cure for MS. Since 2001 he has done everything he possibly can to support the local Mid South Chapter of the National MS Society. It is for this tireless work that he is being honored as the Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero for the month of September.

Deb Williams, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

As the Promotions and Special Projects Manager for Nashville's Fox 17, Deb Williams spends her days spotlighting local events, charities, people and businesses. Now the tables have turned and it's Deb who is being spotlighted. She has been named a Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero for her courageous battle with breast cancer and her passion for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

John Murphy, Hard Bargain Association

John Murphy has worn many hats in his lifetime- veteran, high school teacher, police officer, sheriff's deputy, mason, minister, Boy Scout leader, neighbor, friend, father, grandfather, great grandfather and community leader. Such service has made him a hero to many.

Jennifer Krahenbill, Waves, Inc.

As the Executive Director for Waves, Inc. Jennifer Krahenbill was responsible for leading her team as they work to enable individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through everything from cooking classes to volunteer work as well as early intervention for young children. "I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be associated with an organization that connects me to so many wonderful people. The individuals who receive services are genuine and give so much back through their warm qualities.

Millie Webb, Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

In honor of Mother's Day, Darrell Waltrip Automotive chose to award Millie Webb as Hometown Hero of May. Webb is being honored this month for her influence and dedication to the nationally recognized organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The personal trauma in Millie's life has inspired her to work tirelessly and compassionately to end drunk driving. In 2000, with the help of Millie's leadership, the legal blood alcohol concentration level lowered from .10 to .08.

Ermon Lature, Habitat for Humanity

In remembrance of a father, husband, successful businessman, and advocate to provide affordable housing for families in Williamson County, Darrell Waltrip Automotive named Ermon Lature a Hometown Hero. Lature made a tremendous impact on the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County and his friends, family and Habitat staff gathered to honor his memory.

Mike & Missy Wilson, My Life Speaks

Since 2003, the Wilson's have been involved in connecting Americans with the people of Haiti, leading hundreds of people overseas by sharing their heart for the country. The Wilsons and their team have helped thousands of Haitian people in need by providing food, supporting churches and schools, building homes, and housing orphans, showing their compassion to many individuals along the way. Amidst the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, they adopted their second child from Haiti and became even more inspired to help children in that area.

Vanderbilt LifeFlight

In 2004, Wayne Baskett experienced a near fatal motorcycle accident, owing his only reason for survival to the Vanderbilt LifeFlight team. Since then he has shared his lifealtering story with many community members, acknowledging the imme nse skill and importance of emergent care transportation. Darrell Waltrip Automotive awards the Vanderbilt LifeFlight team as April's Hometown Hero for their continued commitment toward saving lives.

Monty McInturff, Friends of Franklin's Parks

Franklin local Dr. Monty McInturff was awarded for his leadership role in the conservation of his community and for his selflessness while serving. In April 2011, Franklin Tomorrow founded Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC in which Dr. McInturff served as the founding President of the Board of Governors. Friends of Franklin Parks was created for private donors to make tax-deductible contributions to fund improvements of area recreational facilities and preserve the cultural and natural resources for future generations.

Jan Lincoln, ARC & Our Thrift Store

Darrell Waltrip Automotive has awarded their second teacher in the Hometown Hero campaign, presenting Jan Lincoln from Centennial High School as February's hero. She was nominated by her neighbor, Earl Hensel, who praised her life-long passion and dedication to individuals with special needs.

Mike Reeder, Challenged Athletes Foundation

Loosing both of his legs fighting for our country in Vietnam never slowed Mike Reeder down. He lived a life full of supporting charities like Outward Bound, an organization that assists in returning disabled veterans in coping with life in America as well as the Challenged Athletes Foundation whose mission is to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.

Jim Charron, Project Reflect

As a retired engineer and contractor, Jim was awarded for spending his time and talents helping architecturally restore his church and the schools of Project Reflect, a non-profit organization determined to transform urban America through education and policy reform. Joan Anderson, an Executive Assistant at the non-profit, nominated Charron and has experienced first hand the benefits of Jim's service. She spoke of Jim's willingness and "offering his gifts and talents generously" in her nomination.

Richard Chapman, Habitat for Humanity, Williamson County

For years, Chapman has revealed his heart for service and his vast influence on others to do the same, directly influencing and encouraging his coworkers, friends, and family to serve their community. During his time serving on the board of Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County he helped build dozens of homes and was a leader in making the homes National Green Building certified and Energy Star certified.

Evelyn Hickerson, Gentry's Education Foundation

Evelyn HIckerson has been teaching for over 30 years, currently teaching at Johnson Elementary School in Franklin. In the summer of 2010 she started Gentry's Educational Foundation in honor of her parents, James and Josephine Gentry. Using the money left to her upon their passing, she and her husband Rovert started the foundation to give children in Franklin the opportunity to enrich their live through education, support, and mentoring.

Mary Beth Gates, High Hopes

After leaving HCA in 2006, Mary Beth becames HIgh Hopes' Volunteer Accountant, volunteering approximately 552 hours annually. "Mary Beth goes above and beyond the day to day accounting duties necessary for High Hopes to function," says Holly Beth Roach, the Fund Development Coordinator. What began with a complete reorganization and restructuring of their financial system has now become a full time position.

Dr. David Vanderpool, Mobile Medical Disaster Relief

Dr. Vanderpool was nominated by his son for his passion to improve the lives of others. "I have been profoundly influenced by my father and his selfless giving and am grateful that others see him as the hero that I know him to be". David Stalling Vanderpool. From Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, and Mozambique to the New Orleans, Alabama, and Nashville, Vanderpool has been an aid to global poverty and worldwide disaster relief for many years.