While Lucy and Marty are quick to ask “Why honor us?”, the rest of our community is just as quick to say how deserving they are. Just look at the list. Both of them products of Catholic education—Marty in Cincinnati as a youngster and Lucy at Christ the King and Father Ryan—the Blairs have put themselves square in the middle of our Catholic community. After each graduated from Tennessee Tech and after time spent in Clearwater, FL, they found their way home, and the Catholic community drew them in. Lucy taught for 17 years at St. Henry, imparting both the lessons of the textbooks and the example of her and her family’s lives to the young boys and girls there. Marty, who has been involved in so many things Irish that people are stunned to learn that he didn’t GO to Father Ryan, became Chief Operating Officer of Star Physical Therapy, and when he wasn’t building that business, he was building relationships throughout the community as a coach, a parishioner, as a vocal supporter (“can I get a BAM!?), as a volunteer.
Both Lucy and Marty will tell you that they do all these things because they can’t say no; but they also tell you that saying “no” isn’t an option when the ask is so compelling.
“We are honored to be a part of the 2019 Legacy Gala and to lend our names and our presence to this important event and this outstanding school,” Lucy said. “The Catholic community overall, and Father Ryan in particular, has been such a gift to us, that anything we can do to help, we want to do.”
In talking about Father Ryan, where their children graduated—Ryan in 2007 and Erin in 2009—they talk about the impact the school continues to have on these two. “Father Ryan has always led when change needed to happen,” Marty said, “and as a result, the kids learn to give. I know Ryan and Erin are living the mission, sometimes without even knowing they are, and it is rooted in that tradition of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”
The source of that is Catholic education, which they say was always the easiest check to write. And the reasons have been on display for years.
“I was in a fraternity at Tennessee Tech with Paul Davis '81 and John Howington '81 and Mark Sharp '81 and Tim Hoots '81,” Marty says. “Outstanding men, each one. But the thing that impressed me was the connection they all exhibited to each other because of where they went to school, and the commitment each had to lives of service because of what they had been taught at their parochial schools and Father Ryan. That has always impressed me. I saw how the Catholic community builds like-minded and open-minded individuals who become lifelong friends and valuable parts of the community. And whenever we have been in need, that spirit, that outreach has been immediate, without us even asking.”