Written by Melissa Gerrish
Photo by Steve Babin
The Blount Hospitality House provides lodging and supportive companionship for out-of-town relatives of patients in Huntsville area hospitals – serving as a homeaway- from-home for families in need. Director Marydae Sneed, a Huntsville native,believes the little house on Madison Street turns hospital into hospitality!
EVENT: Tell about your work at Blount Hospitality House.
MS: Blount House was founded in 1980 when a group of women realized just how many people were sleeping in hospital waiting rooms, eating from vending machines and washing themselves and their clothes in public restroom sinks. Our guests find themselves miles from home with one thing in common; being unexpectedly in Huntsville due to a medical emergency. Some have babies in a neonatal unit, a family member in a terrible car accident, or are going through chemo or radiation themselves. Blount House is a wonderful gift to these families, a mission of love that I take very seriously. We operate on a prayer and support from our great community. It’s my job, along with my board of directors, to make sure Blount Hospitality House is here for another 35 years.
EVENT: Why is nonprofit work so important to you?
MS: It is important to me to be in a position to better someone else’s life. For most of my adult life I filled that need through nonprofit work.The thank you notes we receive, almost daily, at Blount House, let me know just how important our mission is. Just this week, we had two previous guests drop by to let us know what a Godsend we were to their family. Through all the ups and downs and the trials of running a small nonprofit, on weeks like this, it’s a reminder of why we do what we do! I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
EVENT: What events benefit Blount Hospitality House that the community can get involved in?
MS: We have three events that are dear to me! Kicking off our event season is Dinner in the Garden at Bennett Nurseries, which happens on October 1 this year, followed by the Rudolph Run on December 19. Then our Mardi Gras celebration will be February 7, 2016. Both the Rudolph Run and Mardi Gras require an army of volunteers. If you’d like to help, contact our office at 256-534-7014.
EVENT: What kind of hobbies and interests to you have?
MS: We have been living on our family farm for the past year, just eight miles from the courthouse square. It began as a move to renovate our house in town, which is not moving as quickly we’d hoped, so hobbies and interests have shifted this year from working in my flower beds in town to cutting grass! I’ve enjoyed getting back into horseback riding at Flint Ridge Farm, where I took lessons as a child. I’m a member of The Junior League of Huntsville and its Rainbow Rhythm Band, a washboard band, where I may be found leading the band or playing the spoons! In addition, I am a sponsor of the Grace Club of Huntsville’s Junior Grace Club, a social and service club for high school students. Between the few additional activities and directing a small nonprofit, I have some precious time for my extremely supportive, long-time boyfriend, Ben, our dog Topper and kitty Maggie. Together, we enjoy long walks, traveling, cooking and entertaining!