When organizers of the Grand Summer Ball contacted Cindy McBrearty
to meet with her
, the Fairhope woman did what comes naturally.
Assuming they wanted her
to head up a committee for the Thomas Hospital Foundation benefit , McBrearty
started lining up committee members to help with the task even before the meeting.
To McBrearty's surprise , they didn't want her
Instead , the foundation board members wanted to recognize her
community volunteer efforts by dedicating the 16th annual ball to McBrearty
, who prefers to work behind the scenes on projects , doesn't feel comfortable being in the forefront.
I'd much rather have been given a job than have this attention , said McBrearty
, sitting in her
Fairhope home.But those who have watched McBrearty silently work in the background on many community efforts , whether it was enhancing the landscape of Fairhope while serving on the Fairhope Planning and Zoning Committee , or helping education by founding the Fairhope Educational Enrichment Foundation for schools , say she's well deserving of the recognition
Naturally , we were thinking of someone who had shown a special interest in the hospital , but we thought of Cindy
first because she does so much for the whole community , Adams said.
She's not flamboyant , said Adams , who met McBrearty
at their church , Fairhope United Methodist.
My goal is to have the million dollars by the end of the year , said McBrearty
, who will rotate off the FEEF
board this year.McBrearty
has also been instrumental in causing the population in Fairhope to grow.
was the one who quickly got me involved , said Garner of her own volunteer work.
On a recent morning , McBrearty
sat in her
home , located just blocks from Thomas Hospital
, talking about her
family and community work.Her
home is eclectic.Unusual art pieces from the Fairhope Arts & Crafts event mingle with antiques she's
picked up at out-of-the-way flea markets on her
trek from Fairhope back to her
Raised in Fayette , located in west central Alabama , McBrearty's life has revolved around the medical profession.Her
father , Dr. Richard O. Rutland of Fayette , was named Family Doctor of the Year by Good Housekeeping
and the American Academy of Family Physicians
husband is Dr. Michael McBrearty , a family physician in Fairhope.Cindy McBrearty , who has a bachelor's degree in teaching and a master's degree in counseling , taught briefly in Fayette , where she met her husband while he was doing a medical rotation with her father
When talking about her
community involvement , McBrearty points to her
parents , giving them credit for instilling in her
the desire to help others.Her
parents were so involved in their own community in Fayette that they were voted Man and Woman of the Year in 1960.It was the first time the city had honored a couple together.
Volunteering is just second nature to her
, Garner said.Her
parents were such a wonderful example of that all her
, it's just what you do...It's such a part of her
now gets satisfaction watching her
own children get involved.Her daughter , who works as a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City , volunteers at a homeless shelter in Manhattan , while two of her sons recently went on a church mission trip to Mexico
Seeing my children recognize it is important to volunteer and help others is rewarding , she
As a child , making the trek from her
family's home in Fayette to Fairhope during the summer to visit friends , she
would one day call Fairhope home.
Fairhope is the place where I hoped to be able to raise my family , McBrearty
said.But her husband wanted to be a family physician in a rural area of the state where there was a need for more doctors
.The couple eventually ended up in Fairhope.
When they moved to Fairhope , she
spent almost two years working in family counseling.She
quit to raise a family.Her
community work in Fairhope began 25 years ago , when she
first moved to the Eastern Shore.Her
first initiative began with wanting to preserve the landscape of Fairhope.
We began to notice changes on 98 , said McBrearty
, recalling trips from central Alabama to the Eastern Shore.I remember we discussed the fact that we could see it creeping into Fairhope..McBrearty
was worried the changes would affect the aesthetics of the quaint city.
So , after settling in on the Eastern Shore , McBrearty approached then-Fairhope Mayor James Nix , offering to donate her
time to help preserve the city's beauty.Nix responded and appointed her to serve on the city's Community Appearance Board
As a board member , she
traveled to other resort cities , such as Boca Raton , Fla. , Vail , Colo. , and Carmel , Calif. , to observe what those cities were doing to maintain their quaint atmosphere.
We took their ordinances and studied things that made them unique and preserved their natural beauty , McBrearty
said.We tried to look at planned communities that had a vision and a way to control the growth -- not stifle , but control..She
was eventually appointed to the city's planning committee , where she
served for 18 years.
made a difference in shaping Fairhope's landscape , according to a former fellow committee member.She is responsible substantially for the beautification of Fairhope , said Richard Sanderson , who served with McBrearty on the planning committee , because of her advocacy and persistence in getting good sign regulations and general beautification projects.