Friends hold reunion on the ridge

Childhood friends who grew up together in Chelsea join Shelby Ridge owner Chris Schmidt, front, second from left, at a reunion Dec. 20 at Shelby Ridge in Alabaster. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The sound of laughter, singing and reminiscing about school memories filled the dining room at Shelby Ridge and Rehab Select Dec. 20 as several childhood friends gathered to celebrate the season.

Shelby Ridge resident Patricia Bradberry organized a pre-Christmas reunion with many of the people she grew up with in Chelsea. Most of the guests at the party graduated from Shelby County High School or Vincent High School in the late 1950s or 1960s.

The party featured food from Texas Roadhouse, Christmas music and fellowship for the group, which included Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven.

Over the past several weeks, the group has worked to raise money to decorate Shelby Ridge for Christmas. The donations helped to bring several Christmas trees to the different departments of the facility, and helped light up the front of the building with angels, multi-colored and white lights.

“We worked very hard on raising money for the decorations,” Bradberry said. “This is the last fundraiser of the year for us, so we try to make it good every year.”

Bradberry said the decorations help bring a home-like feel to Shelby Ridge, which serves nursing home, Alzheimer’s and rehab patients.

Each department featured a different themed Christmas tree. The rehab wing housed a non-traditional tree, the main hallway featured an angel tree and the main dining room housed a large “Spirit of Christmas” tree containing signatures of many who helped fund the facility’s Christmas decorations.

The Shelby Ridge conference room contained a traditional Christmas tree for family gatherings, the Alzheimer’s patient wing housed a white snowman-themed tree and the nursing home area contained a tree designed by the Shelby Ridge residents, complete with tinsel, vintage ornaments and a small train circling the base of the tree.

In addition to Bradberry, the Shelby Ridge Christmas committee consisted of Judy Brown, Shirley Schmidt, Ben Clark, Tracie Jackson and Donna Fowler.

“It’s good to have everybody here together,” Bradberry said. “We’ve been working on (the decorations) for a long time now.”