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The Bacon Queen of Mobile Faces Her Fears

 

Tammy Garret - Spire employee

The smell of bacon floats through the air as 80 groggy campers slowly peel themselves away from their beds.

Buzzing around the camp kitchen, lifting sheet after sheet of bacon out of the oven is Tammy Garrett, an operations coordinator at Spire.

“I’m the Bacon Queen,” she says. “The kids say, ‘Miss Tammy! Miss Tammy! Can I have another piece of bacon?’”

Tammy is the cook at Camp Rap-a-Hope, a free camp in Mobile, Alabama, for children who currently have cancer, and for those in recovery.  She’s been the Bacon Queen for 10 years now, and she says it’s the best thing she does. But she didn’t always feel that way.

“I was afraid my heart couldn’t handle working with children who have cancer,” she said. “I thought I’d just be crying all the time.”

But after years of watching her husband volunteer, she decided to give it a chance. Now, Tammy takes nearly a week of vacation each year to serve at camp.

“This is a week of normalcy for the kids,” she said. “At this place, they won’t be judged by anyone. They won’t be labeled as ‘different’ because every kid here understands what they’re going through. Here, they are accepted.”

Not only does Tammy volunteer for an entire week, she also logs her volunteer hours in the Dollars for Doers program at Spire.

“I always tell people, don’t leave this money on the table!”

With Spire’s Dollars for Doers program, the company will donate $100 for every 10 hours an employee volunteers for a cause they care about—up to $500 total each year.

“I tell everyone about Dollars for Doers. I tell them, ‘this money is here and they want us to use it!’”

“This is the best thing I do every year,” she said.

For Tammy, the program helps her maximize her impact on the children at Camp Rap-a-Hope.

“This is the best thing I do every year,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s the saddest thing I do, but it’s also the happiest thing I do, and the happy far outweighs the sadness.”

Tammy has no plans of stopping.

“I get back 10-fold of what I give,” she said. “As long as kids have cancer, we’re going to be here providing this camp.”