If you watched Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts game, you might have seen Allison Watters of Nashville on TV.
Watters was named a Colts Anthem Angel for her work on the Brown County Glass Slipper event, which provides free prom dresses and accessories.
And she isn’t the only Brown County woman who earned VIP treatment for her community work.
Suzie Hedrick was recognized during the Sept. 21 game for her 15 years as a pediatric dialysis nurse at Riley Hospital for Children, and for planning a Kidney Camp for kids.
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“It doesn’t seem like what I do measures up to what some of those other people do,” Watters said of receiving the award. “But isn’t it always like that? We don’t see it that way (about ourselves).”
Watters was nominated by a woman who volunteers with her.The Glass Slipper Event began in 2007 with three volunteers and 140 dresses, and has grown to include 150 volunteers and 2,400 dresses, serving 300 girls from all over the state.It also includes volunteer stylists who show the girls how to do their hair and makeup. Seamstresses were there, too, last year to make minor changes and offer advice on sizing dresses.
“Last year, somebody pointed out to me we have more people helping this year, 150 people, than we had dresses that first year,” Watters said.
“We never thought that it would get this big.”
The Glass Slipper at its base is a ministry, Watters said.
The event references the Bible verse Psalm 45:11, which states: “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.”
“We want these girls to know that it doesn’t matter if they’re wearing a gorgeous prom gown and jewelry and the shoes or if they’re wearing jeans and a T-shirt or ratty pajamas, our Lord thinks that they are gorgeous,” Watters said.
“In our society, we have seen that if you feel like you look beautiful on the outside then you feel beautiful on the inside, and that’s not the way it should be.”
The event is also for the family of the girls. Watters remembers a parent coming up to her talking about how grateful they were because that parent had recently become unemployed, and their daughter would not have been able to go to prom if it weren’t for The Glass Slipper.
“You meet people and you get to see them,” she said. “You get to share a part of yourself with them and vice versa. It’s very personal, shopping with someone.”
Watters is already working on the next Brown County Glass Slipper Event, which will be March 12 at Brown County High School. More information is on the group’s Facebook page.
She, her husband and their two sons attended the Oct. 25 game against the New Orleans Saints.
“This year, when they fuss about the hundreds and hundreds of prom dresses all over the basement come February, I’ll go, ‘Don’t you remember when we got to go to the Colts game and you got to get cotton candy and a sno-cone?’” she said.
“It will be good for my kids and husband to reap a little bit of the benefit because they do put up with so, so much.”
Hedrick was nominated as an “angel” by a mother of an infant patient who passed away. Hedrick had cared for that child.“I started crying when I found out who nominated me,” she said. “For her to take time out of her grief to nominate me for an award, it just meant a lot to me.”In addition to her regular duties as a nurse, Hedrick works at a camp during the summer. She said she and other pediatric dialysis nurses were approached by the National Kidney Foundation of Indiana to start a Kidney Camp 11 years ago. It’s for children ages 8 to 18 who are on dialysis, have a kidney disease, or have had a kidney transplant.
“Every kid needs to be able to go to camp. I went to camp when I was a kid. My kids went to camp. It’s just something that every kid should be able to experience,” she said.
It started with seven kids and has grown to 40, Hedrick said.
“Parents don’t have to worry because they know that they’re going to be taken care of; their medications are going to be given, their dialysis is going to be done. They know us nurses will take care of them while they’re at camp,” Hedrick said.
The camp also helps children cope by being around other children facing the same challenges.
Hedrick told a story about a young girl who attended for the first time this year. “After camp, she came back and she told her mom, ‘I’m not alone. There’s more people out there like me. I can do this now.’ She totally had an attitude change and was really depressed beforehand and kind of snapped out of it at camp,” Hedrick said.
Hedrick, her husband, son and daughter-in-law attended the Colts-Jets game, where they were given a $100 voucher for food and a $200 gift card for the gift shop.
They sat at the 50-yard line, in the 200 section, underneath the Monday Night Football broadcasters.
“We could just stand up and turn around and right there they were broadcasting. That was a lot of fun, too,” she said.
Hedrick also made an appearance on the Jumbotron during the game.
“Somebody said something then people around me were like looking up there and looking at me and (saying), ‘Is that you? Is that you?’ Then they started high-fiving me and (saying), ‘Congratulations,’” she said.
“It was just a really awesome experience to be able to be there. The Colts gave me a really good time.”
“Anthem Angels…Honoring Everyday Heroes” was established by the Indianapolis Colts and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to pay tribute to Hoosier “First Respondents” who may have received little or no recognition for the strides they have made to help others in human-service related professions, a press release said.
“Angels” receive four VIP Club Seat Tickets to the game, a feature story in the Colts gameday magazine and on www.colts.com, as well as on-field recognition at the game.
Nominations are being accepted for 2015 home games; see www.colts.com/anthemangels.