The Bridge at Bay St. Joe hosted a Hall of Fame Café celebration to honor residents at the local nursing home.
During the Friday ceremony, Rev. Louie Jefferson Little, Jr. was honored for distinguished military service and volunteerism and former resident Ruth Schoelles was inducted for personal achievements, professional accomplishments and public service.
Little is a member of the Ministerial Association and acts as a fill-in for the facility’s Chaplain as needed.
For the past six years Little has volunteered at The Bridge every Saturday. He leads the facility’s 20-member congregation where he conducts live music, provides gospel lessons and visits with residents.
Raised in Troy, AL., Little moved to Port St. Joe with his wife, Jean, who grew up in the area. He served in the National Guard for more than eight years and later worked in the Air National Guard as an air traffic controller.
“It’s a great gesture,” said Little of the Hall of Fame recognition. “We get more out of it than we put in. It’s uplifting for us and we feel blessed.”
Little now serves as the Priest in Charge at the Church of St. Peter in Port St. Joe and visits The Bridge as part of the church’s outreach program.
He was surprised by the recognition but was happy to have his hard work recognized by both the staff and directors at The Bridge.
“I got suspicious when they wanted to take my picture,” added Little with a laugh.
Schoelles was born in Apalachicola and was named Miss Apalachicola in 1951 at the age of 17.
She had a career in real estate and was later hired as the executive director of the Apalachicola Housing Authority where she served for 26 years, meeting the needs of the community.
Schoelles is perhaps best known for a calendar she created with her friends and sold to raise funds that allowed area women to get mammograms. The former resident passed away last month.
Marketing director Terri Nelson has worked in the activities department at The Bridge for three years and spent a lot of time with Schoelles.
“Ruth is being honored for what she gave to the community,” said Nelson. “She was amazing.”
The Bridge at Bay St. Joe is one of 87 locations operated by Louisville, KY.-based Signature HealthCARE. Hall of Fame inductees are voted on by the facility’s directors in the corporate office.
Launched in 2003, the Hall of Fame event is hosted annually by each Signature home at different times throughout the year.
This year, Signature has taken a different approach by having each center host its Hall of Fame ceremony on the same day, creating a synchronized, company-wide event.
Now in its 10th year, the Hall of Fame ceremonies have recognized more than 2,000 residents and community members.