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MJ resident helps Myanmar girl
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nu Chaw Chaw, an 11-year-old from Yangon, Myanmar (formerly called Burma) was born with a club foot. Despite two surgeries, she was still extremely crippled and walked on the side of her foot. She had a very visible limp, regularly suffered from open sores on her foot, and experienced severe pain.

A chance video recording that her uncle captured during a visit to his native country of Myanmar in 2011 would forever change this young girl’s life. Today, nearly two years later, Nu underwent a donated surgery at TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, and is walking normally with a prosthetic and without pain. During her recovery over the past four months, she has also experienced American culture while living with her medical guardian in Mount Juliet, Tenn.

Nu returns to Myanmar soon and will take with her a life-changing gift of generously donated medical care and the compassionate hospitality of a relative stranger and far-away community. 

Making the Connection

Mt Juliet, resident Emily Webster was watching a video her son-in-law had filmed of his family taken during a reunion visit to his homeland of Myanmar. The video happened to show his niece, Nu Chaw Chaw, who was then nine years old. She was severely crippled with a club foot and was in obvious pain as she walked. 

Webster was so moved by seeing the image of the young girl and hearing her story that she felt called to help find treatment to fix Nu’s foot in the United States. It took nearly two years to gain approval for Nu to travel from her country, but it finally happened in November 2012. Webster would serve as her guardian and medical power of attorney during the trip. 

“After two years of filling out applications, sharing pictures and videos, and talking to a lot of people, we finally got the exciting news that we had approval for Nu to travel overseas,” recalls Webster. “Then it all happened very quickly. We had to schedule travel plans and we still had to confirm a surgeon and a hospital willing to donate medical care.” 

Webster was a 17-year nurse at TriStar Summit Medical Center in Mount Juliet. A pediatrician she knew connected her with Mark Christofersen, M.D., a pediatric orthopaedic specialist, who could perform the surgery. He and his team graciously agreed to perform the surgery and connected Webster with TriStar Centennial Women’s & Children’s hospital administrator, Joann Ettien.  She, too, agreed to support the surgery and facilitated donated surgical expenses through TriStar Centennial Medical Center. 

Surgery and Beyond

Surgery was scheduled for Dec. 4, 2012. There was an unexpected decision made just prior to surgery to amputate Nu’s foot because of the severity of her condition. Webster and the medical team communicated via digital video technology from the hospital, through a translator, to Nu’s parents in Myanmar about the difficult decision to amputate. The surgery has been successful in helping Nu Chaw Chaw walk normally and relieved her of pain.

“I have never seen such wonderful treatment as I have at TriStar Centennial. I felt like the red carpet was rolled out for her,” recalls Webster. “I had never experienced being so overwhelmed by something that I couldn’t talk…I was speechless that day.”

Webster and Nu Chaw Chaw went home with crutches donated by Dr. Mark Christofersen and a pediatric wheel chair from LifeCare Home Medical Equipment. TruLife  soon donated a prosthetic foot and Applied Orthotics and Prosthetics supplied prothestic related materials, silicone gel liners, and gait training.   

Terrell ‘Terry’ Tate, a prosthetist with Applied Orthotics and Prosthetics, treated Nu Chaw and witnessed what he calls an incredible recovery. Her post-surgical recovery would have been challenging under normal circumstances, and was even more so with the addition of adding a prosthetic to her rehabilitation. 

“From the time that I met her to now, her accomplishments are tremendous,” he said.  “There was tremendous courage and amazing inner strength from an 11 year old child 

Webster’s employer, TriStar Summit Medical Center, also generously provided Nu’s post-surgical physical rehabilitation.

In coming weeks, a local dentist, Pryor Family Dentistry, also donated oral hygiene care. 

Today, Nu Chaw Chaw is walking with ease. In the months following her surgery, she has become a member of the Mount Juliet community where she has been residing with Webster. Nu has had the opportunity to attend classes with fifth graders at Mt. Juliet Elementary School, has been attending the local church, and even traveled to Disney World in Florida and Dollywood in East Tennessee. 

Webster is thankful for the opportunity to have shared in this experience with Nu Chaw Chaw and is more thankful for the generosity displayed by so many in the Nashville and Mt. Juliet communities. 

“This never would have happened if Dr. Christofersen and TriStar Centennial hadn’t agreed to support us in this surgery,” she said. “We’ve given Nu Chaw Chaw the opportunity to lead a healthier life.”

 The TriStar Centennial Medical Center team is proud to have been part of making a difference for the young girl as well. 

“Nu Chaw Chaw looks so happy,” said Ettien. “We are so glad we could help her be a happier and healthier little girl.”

Setterland named new Director of Schools
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sabrina Garrett

Special to The Chronicle

Seating was limited – but that didn’t stop countless county residents from showing up at the Wilson County Board of Education meeting on Monday night to hear the results of the Director of Schools search that began in early March.

Former MJHS standout shot in confrontation
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Former Mt. Juliet High School student and football star Vaughn Cornelia was shot just before 3 a.m. Friday during a confrontation on West Broughton Street in Savannah, Ga.

MJ chosen as Playful City for 4th straight year
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

With research proving play is critical to the overall well-being of children, 217 cities and towns, including Mt. Juliet, earned recognition from national non-profit KaBOOM! as 2013 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to give children the childhood they deserve by providing ample opportunities for play. 

Today’s generation of children play less than any previous generation despite the vast benefits of play. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children. 

Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program from KaBOOM! that celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the lack of play among children. 

“Since our designation as Tennessee’s first playful city in 2010, we have maintained our focus on developing PLAY along with our city’s homes and businesses.  Last year, we made the decision to designate the entire month of July to our Parks and Recreation Department and PLAY.  Our citizens enjoy the KaBOOM! sponsored renovations to our beloved Planet Playground and I expect they will be equally as excited about the continued growth of our Parks Department.  As one of the fastest growing cities in Tennessee, we understand that continued growth requires unrelenting commitment to PLAY in MJ.”  Rocky Lee, Parks Manager

KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the lack of play and it is through mayors, city council members, parks and recreation departments, school districts and community leaders that the program succeeds in benefitting children. 

“Kids need to play actively, every day, at home, in school and in their communities, yet play is disappearing,” said Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and author of The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play. “Children spend nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen; almost half of all poor students are deprived of recess; and to make matters worse, only one in five children live within walking distance of a park. Playful City USA communities like Mt. Juliet are creating innovative programs and initiatives and deserve recognition because of their efforts to give kids the childhood they deserve and best prepare them for their future.”

Hailing from 43 states, the 217 Playful City USA honorees range in size from seven-time honorees such as San Francisco and Spartanburg, S.C., to first-time recipient Ellsworth, Kan. (population: 3,100). These Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to play and physical activity by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community. 

In the seventh year of the annual program, 16 Playful City USA communities received recognition for the seventh consecutive year, while 23 earned honors for the sixth time, 25 for the fifth time, 29 for the fourth time, 41 for the third time, 46 for the second time. KaBOOM! recognized 37 communities with their first Playful City USA designation. 

For the sixth consecutive year, Florida paced the nation with 32 Playful City USA communities. California earned second-place with 26 communities, while Texas finished third with 15 Playful City USA communities. 

Each of the 2013 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to addressing the lack of play among children. Playful City USA celebrates and highlights these unique initiatives developed by communities across the country. A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage cities and towns to share ideas, concepts and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children. City initiatives include:

KaBOOM! also selected Mt. Juliet for its outstanding dedication to play. Mt Juliet is committed to the Play in MJ campaign and is using the fun of play to engage its citizens in healthy and active lifestyles. The city is planning to increase access to parks and playgrounds in the community by improving and creating new places to play.

The 217 Playful City USA communities are now eligible for $15,000, $20,000 and $30,000 grants via Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. Grant recipients will be announced in the fall.

For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, including Let’s Play grants and applications for 2014, visit   

PUMC’s Worship Without Walls spruces up Senior Center
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center was one of the recipients of the annual “Worship Without Walls” community service project. Every year, members of the Providence United Methodist Church volunteer for various projects in the community. 

Projects at the senior center included; mulching, weeding and planting herbs and flowers in the Senior Serenity Park, spring cleaning the center’s kitchen and art rooms, and organizing closets. Beautiful spring flowers were planted in pots at the entry ways and the restrooms received a fresh coat of paint.

The mission of the center is to provide a place for older adults aged 55 and over to gather for recreational, educational and social activities and to alleviate isolation and loneliness among the elderly. 

The success of the senior center depends on support from volunteer groups like “Worship without Walls” to keep the building and grounds safe, clean and well maintained. “On behalf of the senior members, we send a huge thank you to all  of the helping hands and caring hearts of Providence United Methodist Church,” says center director, Linda McClanahan.

For more information on volunteer opportunities at the Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center call 758-9114.

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