When the Junior Board of Visitors (JBOV) leadership gavel is passed in January, for the first time the Chair position will be shared by two JBOV members. Succeeding the third Chair, Ashelynn Falkenburg Smith, will be Co-Chairs Kate Wood Hamilton and Sidney Wood Clapp.
Kate and Sidney are sisters, accustomed to tackling projects together since childhood. They have remained close, within a close-knit family, their lives intersecting in special ways.
Today both Kate and Sidney are married, with children. They live only a few houses apart in Mountain Brook's Crestline section. Their husbands, Ford Hamilton and Martin Clapp, have been friends since college. Ford and Martin both work in the family business, Wood Fruitticher – Ford in purchasing, Martin in information technology. Sidney and Martin first met at Kate and Ford's wedding.
Their children are near one another in age – Kate and Ford's children, Elizabeth, 13, and Wood, 10, and Sidney and Martin's children, Margaret Moore, 10; Lucy, 8; and Alice, 5.
"Since everyone is close, it's easy to spend time together," says Sidney, who is called "Sister" by family and friends.
Family connections spurred the sisters' JBOV involvement. It was their Aunt Jean who approached them about becoming founding JBOV members and thus supporting the UAB School of Nursing. Aunt Jean is Jean Tomlinson, longtime member of the UAB nursing school's senior Board of Visitors (BOV); her late husband, Jack, was a brother of Sidney and Kate's late grandmother.
The sisters' family connections also helped the JBOV expand its No-Show Ball fundraising initiative of selling food-and-drink baskets delivered to supporters' homes. To expand, the JBOV needed additional freezer and packing space for No-Show Ball preparation. That was arranged by Wood Fruitticher, which has such space for its business of distributing food and restaurant-related products.
"Having freezer and packing space is a unique asset that turned out to be a blessing to help grow our JBOV fundraiser," said Kate. The sisters received quick approval for Wood Fruitticher's helping hand from their dad, Dave Wood II, who co-owns the company with his brother John. "It was like, 'Hey Dad, what do you think of this?' " said Sidney. "He said, 'Okay.' "
In 2011, another Wood family member joined the JBOV – Angie Wood. She's the wife of Kate and Sidney's brother, Dave Wood III, who works in Wood Fruitticher's warehouse operation, and who, like Kate and Sidney's husbands, helps with the No-Show Ball.
The JBOV's 2012 and 2013 No-Show Ball fundraisers were the most successful in JBOV history. The two fundraisers combined generated a total of $181,163.95 for a scholarship in memory of the twin babies of JBOV member Elizabeth McCoin and her husband Seth – the Seth Houston McCoin, Jr., and Elizabeth Morgan McCoin Endowed Scholarship for Pediatric Nursing. Kate and Sidney are optimistic that JBOV momentum will continue. "Our members are inspired. We've come to view this as kind of a calling," said Sidney. And, added Kate, JBOV members are unified in their mission: "We know that nursing touches every single person."