Volunteer 'drives' St. Jude message home

James O'Hara brings supporters to St. Jude

James O' Hara  (second from left) brings many people to Memphis
from his Nashville headquarters to help St. Jude. On this trip he has
brought (from left) Mark Slaughter of the band Slaughter, Kevin Lamb
of PeerMusic, Jackie Profitt of St. Jude, Lisa Jenkins of Nuage Music,
Tabitha Daly, formerly with Leadership Music, Darrell Franklin of Diver
Dan Music, song publisher Bobby Rymer and Dara Royer of St. Jude.

After touring St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and seeing first-hand the work the hospital does, many often say how they wish everybody could come to St. Jude and see what they have seen.

James O'Hara tries to do just that.

For five years, O'Hara, who owns and operates the Entercorp Group Inc., a limousine service out of Nashville, Tennessee, volunteers to bring interested parties from Nashville to the hospital whenever he is needed.

"I know it helps expose people to the hospital and the great work it does," O'Hara said. "And it saves the organization money. I know with the work St. Jude does, every dollar means something."

O'Hara may have only been bringing people to St. Jude for five years, but his involvement goes back to his youth. Growing up with his grandparents, O'Hara always recalled the letters his grandmother would get from charities asking for donation. She always kept St. Jude at the top of the list. "The ones she always kept were the one from St. Jude," he said.

All those memories came flooding back to him five years ago while he was working over a weekend. He listened to the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids radiothon that was being broadcast on WSIX in Nashville. "It was very emotionally charged. I called in and made a donation and then I got in touch with St. Jude and told them I wanted to do something for them."

O'Hara was told by St. Jude's Nashville fund-raising office that on occasion, St. Jude would bring people down to Memphis to tour the hospital. "We'd be more than happy to do that," O'Hara said at the time.

O'Hara brings a variety of folks to Memphis to see the hospital, from country music industry people to entertainers themselves. And he each trip to St. Jude, he says, is a memorable one. "There is something I remember from going down there each time."

O'Hara always gets a new tour of the hospital each time he comes, which further reminds him of why he volunteers his time for St. Jude.

"It's so child friendly," said of St. Jude. "It's all about the kids. Everything is oriented toward them. It's all about helping them to not be afraid. The way I look at it is if the hospital can do all this for families and not ask for anything in return, I figured I could help out and do the same."

"James has been a wonderful advocate for St. Jude, sharing our mission and vision with so many people," said Teri Watson, director of radio marketing for ALSAC, the hospital's fund-raising arm. "We are so grateful for his generosity and continued support of the work being done every day at the hospital.  It is people like him that truly do make a difference in the lives of the people they touch."


December 2004

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