Sharon Sue Brady
Sharon Brady is the kind of person you’d want to have as a neighbor. She loves to cook and makes sure nothing goes to waste in her community. “If I can’t use it, I’ll give it to somebody or cook it for them.” Friends of Sharon’s grandkids think of her house as their second home. “They all call me Nana,” Sharon said of her granddaughter Jasmine’s friends. Sharon always makes sure that everyone is looked after, even if it means inviting neighborhood kids over for Christmas when they had nowhere else to go. Sharon summarizes her role in the community best, saying “If anybody comes to my house, you ain’t leaving without something!”
Sharon has looked after her oldest granddaughter Jasmine, who they call “Jazzie,” since she was under 2 years old. Jasmine’s mother was unequipped to raise a daughter at the time, and Sharon didn’t hesitate to step in. When talking about Jasmine, Sharon lights up. “She did cheer in middle school and got the spirit award two years in a row.” Growing up, Jasmine loved being around her Nana. “She never spent the night anywhere, but her friends were always over.” Today, Jasmine has a job working at a family entertainment venue in Knoxville, and frequently comes home to Newport to visit.
Currently, Sharon lives with her grandson Braxten, and their two dogs, Sadie and Muffin. When Braxten’s mother was in the hospital for an extended period, Sharon once again selflessly stepped in and took emergency custody of Braxten when he was about 8 months old. When asked about Braxten, Sharon begins to beam. “You know, he was valedictorian of his 8th-grade class.” Braxten couldn’t wait to ride the bus to school growing up and quickly became the bus driver’s favorite passenger. “Just don’t tell the other kids.” It’s also worth noting that Braxten has never had a cavity. “Not even once,” Sharon said, her smile audible through the phone.
Sharon, Braxten, and Jasmine love spending time together. “We’ve done everything,” Sharon said. “If they slept on the trampoline, I slept on the trampoline. We camped, we hiked, we did it all.” But Sharon acknowledges that her age makes things difficult sometimes. “Five years ago, I was on the roof, now I can barely step off the porch!” Sharon has had dual hip replacements and has medical conditions that require frequent doctor’s visits. Even though she qualified for TennCare, a series of legal complications prevented her from getting the healthcare she needed.
TJC helped Sharon with her application and got her the TennCare health coverage she deserved. Sharon no longer has to worry about the high costs of her medical appointments. “I’m not afraid to go to the doctor anymore. I’m not afraid of what it’s going to cost… I can’t tell you what your help has meant to me.” Sharon’s story is just one of many like it, where people are kept from getting the healthcare they deserve simply because they don’t have the time or resources to navigate the complicated legal process.
When her grandchildren needed her most, Sharon set aside her life, and career as a realtor, in a heartbeat. Having spent time living with her own grandmother growing up, she knows that “family” extends well beyond parents and siblings. At the Tennessee Justice Center, our clients like Sharon inspire us to go above and beyond. When asked about her decision to take in her grandkids, Sharon didn’t miss a beat. “I’d do it again… There’s never been a time that I would let them go. Never.”
TJC is proud to honor Sharon Brady as a 2023 Grandmother of the Year for her consistent efforts to secure a life of health and joy for herself and her grandchildren.