Nick Gambill with Leah Burris
Written by: Cole Gray
Nick Gambill grew up working with his hands. Building decks and remodeling homes throughout college prepared him to give back to the community in an unexpected way: fabricating running prosthetics for amputees, and giving them away for free.
Gambill is Doing Good’s Nashville Volunteer of the Month for his work with Amputee Blade Runners, an organization that gives free running prosthetics to amputees that seek to return to an active lifestyle post-amputation.
Health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of running prosthetics, which are necessary for amputees that want to maintain a physically fulfilling lifestyle. That’s where Amputee Blade Runners comes in.
Gambill builds the prosthetics himself. Jeff Belcher, a former tennis pro who lost both legs below the knee in 2013, said Nick’s work was highly important, giving purpose back to his life. Belcher recently received running prosthetics from Amputee Blade Runners.
“Nick’s like the kind of guy that likes to just be in the back,” Belcher said. “He likes to do all the work, but he would rather give somebody else credit when the credit is actually due to him.”
Gambill refuses to brag on himself. But Belcher will.
“He’s a good guy. There are not too many of those guys. Take it from me, I’ve been around a lot of people who may have said that they’ll help, and then have no follow-through whatsoever,” Belcher said. “Nick’s the kind of guy that, if he says he’s going to do something, or says he’s going to help with this or that, he’ll do it.”
By: Kingsley East
Families of disabled children and local communities believe this truth, but it takes workers and volunteers like Annah to set this statement into motion. Annah Slayton abides by these words as she works to bring therapy, growth, and hope to disabled children. Working with a nonprofit called Special Kids, Annah’s goal as a volunteer is to give back to the community and support an organization that makes the world a better place.
Special Kids operates out of love to meet the needs not only of disabled or medically fragile kids, but also to treat entire families in Murfreesboro and eighteen surrounding counties.
“I loved going and working with the kids and seeing them smile.”
Annah serves Special Kids to make children’s lives better, and she is inspired every day by their smiles and growth. Annah is passionate about children and artwork. At Special Kids, she gets to fulfill both of these desires through service and creativity. From desk work to artwork, Annah uses her own skills and passions to help Special Kids change hundreds of lives.
Annah never thought she would be a dedicated volunteer, but three years later, her time with Special Kids proves otherwise. Annah now loves working alongside the Special Kids team to invest in children’s futures. Giving a few hours of her time each week to this organization provides Annah with a sense of purpose and joy in seeing a child grow while working with an uplifting team that lives to carry out a mission of service.
By Karen E. Williams
When citizens are in trouble they call 9-1-1. They’re confident a First Responder will be there in minutes to help. But when a First Responder is severely injured in the line of duty, who is there to help them? Generally it is not the government. In fact, the First Responder may see medical disability income replacing only 50-60 percent of his or her income. And with long-term debilitating injuries, the First Responder may not be able to continue the second job they have held and the spouse may have to quit her or his job to care for the injured breadwinner. This leaves the family in a situation where they’re unable to pay their mortgage and meet the needs of their family. They are headed into poverty and despair.
With that dilemma in mind, in 2008 retired Metro Nashville, Tennessee Police Officer Mickey Milam formed Help the Good Guys. He had been injured in the line of duty and knew what many of his fellow first responders were facing. “My injury changed our lives,” Mickey said. “We were fortunate because my wife has a good job. We were able to refinance our home through a special hardship program and thankfully didn’t face the fate of losing everything. But others are not so lucky. Coming into my unplanned retirement I saw a need that many of my fellow First Responders have and decided to do something about it.”
Now Mickey is using his connections with the music industry in Nashville to organize benefit concerts and events wherever the need exists across the country to help severely injured Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians.
Because of the generous partnership of entertainers such as Bucky Covington, Darryl Worley, Charlie Daniels, Ronnie Milsaps, George Strait, Vince Gill, John Michael Montgomery, Kevin Bacon, Trace Adkins, Alabama’s Randy Owen and others, Help the Good Guys has held concerts, produced a bowling event and sold CDs to benefit individuals in Seattle, Little Rock, Atlanta, Birmingham and Philadelphia as well as helping the Fallen Firefighters Foundation. We’re actively looking for other local First Responders in need,” he says.
But his latest project is the one that excites Mickey the most. He is bringing together Kidde, the world’s largest manufacturer of fire safety products, Americus Studios, a Nashville-based music video producer, and the Chattanooga, Tennessee Fire Department to create a video of “PROUD,” a new song recorded by up-and-coming singer George Shingleton. First Responders will be able to use the video in their fund raising efforts to assist members of their own departments who are severely injured.
Mickey says that volunteering comes easy to him. “I grew up in a small West Tennessee farming town and was taught from an early age to help others. My parents made sure my brother and I never missed a church service. Our church concentrated on helping the older people and the poor families in our local community. Our family raised a two-acre garden and gave food to people in need. I remember many times people coming to my father asking for money or food for their families. I don’t recall him ever refusing to help someone.
“Helping others brings a tremendous sense of tranquility and happiness to my life,” Mickey continues. “It makes me realize how fortunate I am with the blessings God has given me. When I meet God and He reads from the Book of Life I hope to hear ‘This is a man who touched many lives because he cared enough to make a difference.’”
In addition to his work forming Help the Good Guys Mickey volunteers as a Little League baseball coach, is a board member for East Williamson Athletics and volunteered during the summer at Camp Hope, Vanderbilt Medical Center’s camp for children who have been seriously burned. Mickey is a resident of Nolensville, Tennessee.
Click here for more information and to donate to Help the Good Guys.
Doing Good is proud to recognize Mickey Milam as October’s Volunteer of the Month. Megan McInnis, founder of Doing Good, says “Mickey’s volunteering has impacted lives of children and families and entire communities. He embodies the saying that ‘one person can make a difference.’”
Please join the conversation about volunteerism by adding a comment. What are you doing to make a difference in the life of someone else? How does that make you feel?
Doing Good is an organization committed to promoting volunteerism in Metro Nashville by telling the stories of local volunteers on the radio and television, and in print and the Internet. By educating and inspiring others about volunteerism, Doing Good seeks to increase the number of volunteers and the number of hours per volunteer.