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The Little Things

Baker Donelson“Methodist is very intentional about the things that it focuses on. They’re committed to meeting the specific healthcare needs we face in this community.” - Buck Wellford 

The Hospice Residence was – and is – a place of comfort
Firmly entrenched in the Memphis community, the law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz is a longtime supporter of Methodist Healthcare. But when illness took one of their own, the firm’s connection became much more than civic—it was personal. 

Valerie Johnson practiced law at Baker Donelson for almost two decades, specializing in corporate intellectual property law, until a brain tumor stopped her career in its tracks. 

She was able to spend some of her last days at the Methodist Hospice Residence. She died in January of 2012, but fortunately for Valerie and her family, those final days were made much more comfortable. And for that, Baker Donelson wanted to show a special gesture of gratitude. 

“The Hospice Residence was a great respite for Valerie and her family,” said Buck Wellford, a shareholder in the firm. “She loved to soak in that big tub. That really gave her a lot of pleasure. The little things like that make all the difference.” 

Opened in August of 2011, the Methodist Hospice Residence was built with the little things in mind.  The facility is located at 6416 Quince Road and is equipped to meet the needs of both adults and children. Fresh air, sunshine and a beautiful garden are just a few feet away for patients and their families to enjoy. And of course, there’s that big tub. 

Honoring a friend
For Wellford and his colleagues at Baker Donelson, the Hospice Residence is an extension of the Methodist mission. He and shareholders Frank Watson, Jill Steinberg and Sam Blair manage a team of lawyers that have provided outside legal counsel for Methodist—primarily around litigation and regulatory issues. 

“So it made sense that we were the ones to spearhead this gift,” Wellford said. “But the firm is also an active supporter of the annual Cancer Center Luncheon and the annual Living Awards Benefit.” 

After providing a patient wing at the Residence, the firm has committed to a gift to Methodist to name a patient room in Valerie’s honor. The firm also made a capital contribution to the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital expansion and provides support for the annual golf tournament. 

On a mission
They do all this, Wellford says, because of Methodist’s commitment to being rooted in the community—with everything from the Congregational Health Network to the Sickle Cell Center to Le Bonheur. 

“Methodist is very intentional about the things that it focuses on,” Wellford said. “They’re committed to meeting the specific healthcare needs we face in this community.”

Photo: (l-r) Baker Donelson Shareholders Frank Watson, Sam Blair, Jill Steinberg and Buckner Wellford helped make the Methodist Hospice Residence a reality.

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