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FedExFamilyHouse Gala

Support for a Home Away from Home

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  |  Photos by Don Perry

Guests filled the mezzanine of The Peabody for the FedExFamilyHouse Gala. The evening opened with a cocktail reception and silent auction in the Continental Ballroom. Partygoers moved into the Grand Ballroom for a seated dinner featuring a salad of Romaine lettuce with avocado and hearts of palm, a double entree of petite filet mignon and fillet of salmon, creamy mushroom risotto and grilled fresh asparagus. A variety of sweets and fresh fruit completed the meal. Dinner music was provided by The SoulSations.

FedEx Corporation executive vice president and CFO Alan Graf welcomed guests to the seventh annual event and introduced the event’s honorary chairs, NBA Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace and his wife, Debby. The event’s celebrity guest was Eli Manning, college football quarterback standout for the University of Mississippi and now quarterback for the New York Giants of the National Football League. A video presentation from Eli brought home the message of the mission of the FedExFamilyHouse as he described his experiences with children treated at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, as well as other hospitals around the country.

Ed Coleman made the Volunteer of the Year presentation, recognizing the efforts of Danna Segel. Giving over 200 hours of service a year, for the last three years, Danna has organized the kitchen and the donated pantry items at the FedExFamilyHouse, making life easier for families who travel to Le Bonheur from out of town.

During the evening’s live auction, guests bid on items that offered experiences such as a dinner at the home of Dina and Brad Martin with special guest University of Memphis Coach Tubby Smith, as well as dinner for 10 at the home of Susan and Alan Graf with wines from the Grafs’ wine cellar. A getaway to Blackberry Farms, a trip to experience a day at the NASCAR Bristol Motor Speedway and a three-day stay in New York City to experience Hamilton on Broadway were among the other items up for bid.

Music by the SoulSations provided dance music in the Grand Ballroom before the party moved to the Late-Night Lounge in the Continental Ballroom for the remainder of the evening. DJ “Space Girl” Janet Wilson kept the crowd on their feet as the fun continued into the wee hours of the morning.

FedExFamilyHouse opened its doors in December 2010. Financial support for construction of FedExFamilyHouse came from a $6 million donation from FedEx Corp. and personal donations from Fred Smith, Chairman and CEO, and his wife Diane, and Alan and Susan Graf. Proceeds from this year’s gala will benefit FedExFamilyHouse, a home-away-from-home for families of patients at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.


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