Baptist Hosts Dedication and Ribbon Cutting for Dorothy’s Cottage

Baptist held a dedication and ribbon cutting for Dorothy’s Cottage on Tuesday, April 4. The 4,100-square-foot expansion of Baptist Centers for Good Grief is named in honor of Dorothy Lee Wilson, wife of Holiday Inn founder and entrepreneur Kemmons Wilson. Dorothy’s Cottage is adjacent to the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief in Collierville, Tennessee.

Keith Norman, VP/chief government affairs and community relations officer for Baptist, gave the invocation, and Jason Little, president and CEO of Baptist, spoke to the crowd of more than 100 supporters gathered at the dedication about the need for Dorothy’s Cottage.

Baptist began exploring the idea of building Dorothy’s Cottage in 2018 in response to the growing demand for grief services.

Angela Hamblen Kelly, administrator of bereavement services, announced that grief support services will begin at Dorothy’s Cottage on April 17. She thanked all of the donors who helped make the $2.8 million cottage possible, including the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation and the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation. She also thanked Mr. Little; Stephen Reynolds, president emeritus of Baptist; Randy King, retiring VP of metro operations for Baptist; and Nancy Averwater, senior vice president/chief human resources officer of Baptist, for allowing her team to “dream big.”

“We have waited and waited for this day,” said Angela. “Dorothy’s Cottage will allow for more immediate attention for those who call for our services.”

During the dedication, Betty Wilson Moore, daughter of Kemmons Wilson and Dorothy Lee Wilson, spoke about how her mother was a “nourisher at heart.” She said Dorothy’s Cottage is an opportunity for the family to carry on her legacy of caring.

Danielle Ashmore Matheny, a volunteer at Baptist Centers for Good Grief and a camper at the first Camp Good Grief held in 1999, spoke about how her experience as a child attending the grief camp helped her to heal.

The dedication also included an Act of Remembrance — the lighting of six candles and a moment to remember those lost. Lauren Strini, director of bereavement services, lit the remembrance candle. Jenny Nevels, consultant with Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation, lit the blue candle representing grief.

Grief counselors Christie Walker, Maria Griffo and Stevie Harmon lit a purple candle representing courage. Volunteer Joseph Giannino and his daughter Madison, also a volunteer and a former camper, lit a pink candle for gathering. Ann Duncan, Dorothy’s Cottage donor, lit a red candle representing love. Elijah Adams, a volunteer and former camper, and his family lit a green candle that represents hope.

Angela delivered closing remarks and thanked the mosaic artist Kristi Duckworth, who contributed the donor wall sculpture in the lobby of Dorothy’s Cottage. She also thanked S&L Mural Co. for donating art displayed inside the large seminar room.

The Rev. Anthony Burdick, pastoral care consultant for Baptist, offered the closing prayer.

After the ribbon cutting, attendees enjoyed tours of Dorothy’s Cottage, which features private grief counseling rooms, support group rooms, a large seminar room and offices named after Peanuts’ characters Sally, Linus, Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown, Schroeder and Spike. The outdoor gathering space contains fun blue, yellow and green furniture.

Flintco served as the contractor for Dorothy’s Cottage, and the architect was Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK).

Dorothy’s Cottage is hosting an open house for the community on Saturday, April 15 from 10 a.m. to noon.