More than 300 guests gathered at Vestavia Hills Country Club on Oct. 8 to celebrate the work of the Vestavia Hills Schools Foundation and listen to author and motivational speaker Leigh Anne Tuohy.
Guests enjoyed a light lunch of grilled chicken salads and cheesecake or pie for dessert at tables decorated with centerpieces filled with succulents and greenery provided by Leaf and Petal.
Vestavia Hills Superintendent Sheila Phillips kicked off the program with a welcome to the crowd, thanking those who support VHSF and the funds it provides, which provide grants to the schools and scholarships for students.
Tuohy was invited to the stage following a video introduction and shared her family’s film-worthy success story. The Tuohy’s are the inspiration for the book and film “The Blind Side,” which chronicles the Tuohy’s efforts to adopt Michael Oher and how they evolved together as a family.
Tuohy said that the first time she saw Oher, walking on the side of the road in their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, she simply wanted to buy him a long-sleeved shirt and some longer pants.
“I didn’t even like my own two kids,” Tuohy joked. “I wasn’t looking for another one.”
She said that when her family passed him in their car, her decision to say, “Turn around,” was a choice that changed her life. She was told that Oher was not going to make it through school, but by inviting him into her family Oher was given more opportunities to prove his ability to succeed. He is now an NFL athlete with a Super Bowl win under his belt.
Tuohy said that Oher’s success should be an example to everyone. She told the crowd to “learn to love someone who doesn’t look like you” and “do something today that you didn’t do yesterday.”
Tuohy was greeted with a standing ovation at the close of the event.