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"We like organizations that give back."

Ed and Nancy Barnett

Couple believes in Methodist mission

Ed and Nancy Barnett have strong ties to the Memphis area and raised their kids here. She’s a trained social worker, spent 10 years at the University of Tennessee’s Newborn Center at The Med and knows good healthcare when she sees it. His mom was a nurse, and he built his business, in part, by implementing employee benefits for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. But none of those reasons are at the core of why they support Methodist.

“We like to share our experience and resources with organizations that we believe in,” Ed said. “It’s not a hard decision. We like organizations that give back.”

Fortunately for Methodist, the Barnetts are really good at sharing. Nancy volunteered at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and was active in the Le Bonheur Club. Ed’s a past member of the Methodist Foundation board, and she serves on the board now. He helped start the annual Foundation golf tournament. They’ve made gifts to many Methodist projects.

There’s still more, but Nancy says their support is nothing special. It’s gratitude.

“We both came from middle class families, both went to college and worked hard and were very fortunate,” she said. “We've been blessed. And we said to each other, ‘We’ve got to give back.’ Our family has been blessed and we need to share that.”

Caring for the whole person

Even if they weren’t Methodists themselves, and even if Methodist wasn’t already their hospital of choice, they’d likely still be doing what they do.

“Methodist cares about the whole person, and they care about the family,” said Nancy. “They care about everybody. In social work school they always told us, ‘You have to look at the whole person.’ And that's what Methodist does. They just do some really cool stuff. It's amazing to me.”

The couple’s enthusiasm for Methodist covers the spectrum of the lives of the system’s patients—from a walkway at Le Bonheur to gardens and a fountain at the Hospice Residence.

“Both of us just love being outside,” Nancy says. “I think there's something about being outside in nature that helps you get your head together and feel closer to God. And I think there's something peaceful and soothing about water. When you're coming to grips with your end on earth, you need that time to rest and reflect and get in touch with your spiritual self.”

Caring for the legacy

Ed says he’s watched Methodist grow and evolve and still stay true to its mission of taking care of all people, wherever they are, regardless of ability to pay.

“Methodist was committed, and they’ve stayed committed, to staying in the downtown area,” Ed says. “They just seem to be hitting all the right notes.”

Photo: Ed and Nancy Barnett