Despite a looming Hurricane Irma, a close group of friends and family gathered together in Gulf Shores to celebrate the engagement of Abby Luker and Harry Fitzpatrick at The Veranda, the lovely beach home of Mildred and George Wakefield. Guests were invited for the weekend, with the engagement party held Saturday evening. The festive mood was set on arrival with Mildred Wakefield’s bridal veil adorning the front doors. Parents of the couple, Melinda and Charles Luker of Kellyton and Alice and Tom “Fitz” Fitzpatrick of Montgomery, greeted guests.
The Veranda was exquisitely designed for entertaining and hosting weddings and was the perfect venue for guests to enjoy a weekend of celebration and friendship. Saturday night, guests sipped cocktails and enjoyed an appetizer of seafood gumbo while dinner was prepared by the hosts. The lovely floral decor included yellow roses and greenery in a tiered rustic grapevine stand, which was arranged by Charlene Holtsford. The tables were decorated in beach hues and accented with sailboat-themed votives. The central table featured three large glass containers displaying shells and block signs that read, “Happily,” “Ever,” “After,” “Harry & Abby.” The surrounding tables held handsome lanterns.
Fitz Fitzpatrick, father of the groom, thanked everyone for being at this special weekend celebration. He, along with Alice, welcomed Abby to the Fitzpatrick family and toasted the happy couple. George Wakefield offered a prayer before guests were treated to a delicious buffet dinner featuring a shrimp boil, accompanied by a Southern green salad with glazed pecans. A scrumptious chicken and wild rice casserole was an alternative main dish. Dessert was a beach-themed treat, topped with miniature “beach umbrellas” and “beach blankets.”
Abby and Harry met in Montgomery while both were working in the same building. Abby graduated Summa Cum Laude from Troy University and holds a Master’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations from The University of Alabama. She is employed by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, where she serves as the Director of Communication and Engagement. Harry obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Alabama and is a Bank Examiner with the State of Alabama in Montgomery.
Abby’s family enjoying the happy event included her parents, Melinda and Charles, and her sister, Amanda, who will be the maid of honor. Other members of her family in attendance were Abby’s aunt and uncle, Martha and Keith Gray.
In addition to Harry’s parents, Alice and Fitz, his sister, Sarah, and her husband, Mathews Bryan, joined the festivities.
Friends attending the weekend event were Patrick Craddock, Erin Hardin, Kayla Farnon, and Mason Bass. Hurricane Irma did not affect the weekend weather but did prevent Harry’s longtime friend, William McLain, and his wife, Ashley, from attending when William (who works for WAFF in Huntsville), was diverted to Savannah for hurricane news coverage.
Joining Mildred and George Wakefield as hosts of the joyful dinner party were Rebecca and Jud Bryan, Katherine and Eric Crum, Charlene and Alex Holtsford, and Vonda and Tom McLain.
Abby and Harry will marry on November 18 at the Fitzpatrick home in Montgomery. After their wedding and honeymoon, they will make their home in Montgomery.
Lillie Leaps Camp was a labor of love for Josie Aronov, daughter of Loree and Owen Aronov. Josie hosted a free, week-long therapy camp this past July for children with special needs with the help of a special group of friends and volunteers. Josie chose Easter Seals of Central Alabama as the beneficiary to her Bat Mitzvah project this year based on her knowledge of what a key role it has played in her precious friend, Lillie Mastin’s development.
Josie sat down with a very dear mentor in her life, Liza Cardinal early this past summer to plan a camp that would benefit special needs children ages preschool through fourth grades. Lillie has been making great progress attending speech therapy at Easter Seals of Central Alabama, so when it came time for a Bat Mitzvah charity to be selected, Josie felt Easter Seals of Central Alabama would be a great choice.
Lillie had participated in a school enhanced program of Kinesthetic Learning this past year taught by Liza Cardinal. “Through kinesthetic learning, Lillie is able to process, apply and understand cross curriculum learning and the four elements of dance: Body, Energy, Space and Time. Through movement and curriculum integration she explores body and spatial awareness, as well as sequence building,” according to Dance Instructor, Liza Cardinal.
After many organizational and planning meetings with Liza, Josie and Loree Aronov, Speech Therapist, Kathy Welch, ESCA Executive Director, Debbie Lynn and Director of Marketing, Varina Mead, the group decided on a Movement and Language Camp offering occupational, speech and reading therapy with Disney themed curriculum. It would be named “Lillie Leaps” in honor of Lillie Mastin. Josie and Liza then selected which Disney stories to highlight to best suit each of the day’s therapy goals. With the assistance of Jennifer Riley and Laura Leigh Wright, Josie planned the overall decor for the room to reflect each day’s themes including a special reading corner.
Lillie’s mother, Jill Mastin was thrilled this see such a camp offered to benefit even more children through Easter Seals. She writes, “Lillie has loved her weekly classes with Liza during the school year! She is comfortable and always eager to participate. The lessons have been engaging and exciting and I know that this camp afforded that to so many others that might not have otherwise had the opportunity to participate and take therapy skills back into their homes.”
In the days leading up to the Camp, magical Disney themed vignettes were created by Josie, Loree, Jennifer, Lillie’s sister Caroline Mastin, and Josie’s friends: Lela Davidson, Adison Hart and Allie Frances Brazil. A story- themed vignette was placed in each corner of the room to reinforce the reading therapy environment. The children were also given a book of the story they read during story time and engaged in therapeutic activities pertaining to the story each day. The room where the children met each day was transformed into a bright, cheerful and happy place- one where they would look forward to returning to. Throughout the room were colorful wall hangings, ceiling treatments and soft floor cushions for the children to sit on throughout each day’s camp activities. Several new physical therapy pieces, including: foam blocks, tiered climbing steps, floor pillows, a reading mat, dress up items, movement scarves, bouncing balls and books were also donated for the camp and will be used in the children’s wing of the new Easter Seals building that is currently under construction.
Day One: Incorporating the story of Cinderella, the children explored the movement and rhythm of the waltz like Cinderella at the ball. They also discussed the animals found in the story and recreated their movement characteristics. Later, the children enjoyed a coloring activity sheet and story time inside a vignette of Cinderella’s castle.
Day Two: Incorporating the story of Peter Pan, the children traveled through various pathways like Tinkerbell and Captain Hook. They also walked the plank to make shapes. Girl campers dressed up as Tinkerbell Fairies, with wings and tutus; and the boys as pirates with hats and eye patches. Each child received photographs of themselves in costume for their parents to enjoy, compliments of Haygood Photography. The children also participated in an occupational therapy exercise of creating the “Tick Tock” alligator, by gluing specific shapes and pieces onto a canvas, which transformed into artwork they could take home and enjoy!
Day Three: Incorporating the story of Aladdin, the children rose out of their imaginary magic lamps like the Genie from the story, flying and gliding around the room like Aladdin and Jasmine. They also put actions to words for each movement to create a dance sequence. The children enjoyed decorating their very own oil lamps with “jewels” to take home, providing additional occupational therapy techniques.
Day Four: Incorporating the story of The Little Mermaid, (Josie’s Favorite childhood Disney Princess) the children moved through the room in different directions like Ariel swimming through the sea. They moved over, under, around and through the spaces as well as exploring the antonyms through kinesthetic learning such as big and small and tall and short. The children entered the room filled with bubbles blown by the volunteers, and in turn used their hand eye coordination to create bubbles of their own. Their occupational therapy and art for the day included painting with watercolors to create another masterpiece of Ariel and the undersea creatures they could take home and be so proud of doing at camp that day.
“Lillie Leaps Camp here at ESCA was a week full of dance, occupational therapy, speech therapy, reading therapy, arts and crafts, and plenty of smiles and giggles, which made for a great time for all,” states Director of Marketing, Varina Mead.
Day Five: Lillie Leaps Camp concluded with a demonstration by the campers of all their weeklong activities learned at camp. This provided parents with the opportunity to observe their movement skills, and instruction on how to reinforce these new therapy skills at home. Following this presentation, a special reception was held for all of the children that participated in the camp, along with their parents, grandparents and other family members; in addition to the many volunteers of all ages. Once again, David Haygood with Haygood Photography was on hand to capture these many special moments.
Lillie Leaps Camp could not have been possible without the help of many of Josie’s dear friends and a wonderful group of volunteers. Mary Carmen Haynes coordinated all of the volunteers and enlisted the best! Pat Dunn, Lang Cardinal, Libby Weatherly, Amy Berry, Katie Haygood, Gwen Motley, Rabbi Scott Kramer, Maddie, Chandler and Allie Frances Brazil, Lela Davidson, Adison Hart, Mary Margaret Easterling, Allie Dillard, Emma Ellis and Josie’s little brother Aaron volunteered several days, too!
Chip and Tara Carter’s lovely South Perry Street home was the setting for an early summer evening engagement party celebrating Sarah Elizabeth Ward and Patrick Tyler Pair. Upon arriving, guests were welcomed at the front porch, which was beautifully decorated with Bouganvilla and pictures of the couple. Sarah and Tyler were introduced by their mutual friends, Lora Emily Banks and Jenah Haynes. Following their courtship, Tyler proposed on Sarah’s birthday. The evening was made even more special with Jenah and her husband, Dr. Jennings Haynes present for their celebration.
Although they both grew up in Montgomery – Sarah graduated from St. James School and Tyler graduated from Alabama Christian Academy, Sarah and Tyler never met as students. Their high school and college years were spent at different schools. Sarah did her undergraduate studies at Huntingdon College and Tyler did his at the University of Alabama. Sarah received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama and Tyler received his Masters of Science in Medicine from Mississippi College Physician Assistant Program.
Joining the Carters as hosts for the evening were: Linda Jenkins, Nora Sims, Linda Carter, Debbie Pendleton, Sherry McFeely, Kathy Manning, Erin Kellen, Carol Lasater, Ruth Liddell, Shirley Scarbrough, Angie Hayes, Calli Patterson, Conni Collins and Tony Hickman. The dining table was filled with delicious heavy hors d’oeuvres surrounding a breathtaking arrangement of roses.
On the Carter’s back deck, guests enjoyed champagne punch, beer and lemonade. Family members who were there to celebrate with Sarah and Tyler were: Sarah’s parents, Phyllis and Mike Ward, her brother Adam, and his date Elizabeth Klein. Tyler’s mom, Kaye Pair was also there along with his brother Andrew, sister-in-law Kana and niece Madison Pair. Madison will serve as a flower girl in the upcoming wedding. Sarah’s Aunt and Uncle, Beth and Chris Coats of Helena, enjoyed the festivities along with cousins Kristi and Katie. Tyler’s Aunt and Uncle Kim and Tommy Pair traveled from Auburn to be a part of the happy celebration. Joining them were Tyler’s first cousins Rachel and Michael (along with his wife Anna, and their children Carolina and Amelia.)
Other guests present included: Geri Cronier, Helen Dunaway, George and Jessi Parker and their children, Reese, Lucie and Mary Helen, who will serve as a flower girl.
Out of town friends arriving in Montgomery for the party, were Catie Malone and Candice Bunn, Sarah’s friends from college, who will also serve as bridesmaids, along with Candice’s husband, Brandon and their son, Sawyer.
Tyler’s high school friends and groomsmen were able to join the couple for the festivities. Hunter Golson and his wife, Anne Miles, attended, along with their daughter, Emmie; and Taylor Griswell and his wife, Kathleen.
Tyler’s coworkers in attendance included Emma Williamson and Alecia Carroll.