2017 Paragon Award Recipients

Outstanding Active of the Year Service Award

Brooke Paschali

Volunteering and being an active part of the community is something that has always been a priority for Brooke. After college, she had the opportunity to live all over the world and move to several different cities in a short period of time. While this was a fantastic experience, Brooke found it difficult to get plugged in and find opportunities to get involved in each of the local communities. After getting married in TX and moving to Indianapolis, she decided to join the Junior League of Indianapolis. Upon moving to Nashville, she joined the JLN as a transfer in 2012. Brooke knew getting plugged into the Junior League would provide an immediate opportunity to get involved in serving the community while also meeting other women who share a heart of service.

The League’s mission to “improve the community through effective volunteers” is why Brooke chose a community placement. Not being familiar with Nashville, and not sure where to volunteer, Preston Taylor Ministries was suggested and she immediately knew it was the place for her. Brooke says, “So often you see the news or read statistics about children in our community and you’re not quite sure how you can impact change. The truth is…you can make a difference! Start by serving one hour, with one child, and investing in his or her future. Through the fantastic organization of Preston Taylor, I was provided that opportunity. I continue to be involved in their mission to impact the youth of Nashville and have been placed there for four years, three of which I served as the Project Chair.”

Brooke became a Project Chair Coordinator after being a Project Chair for three years. Her hope was to train, inspire, and instill the importance this role plays within our league. When a Project Chair leads with purpose and passion, their committee members and their agencies, have an impactful year. Based on her own personal experiences, members’ experience will rise and fall on the shoulders of their leader, which makes it critical that each of the chairs find their individual passion and lead with enthusiasm! It’s been a joy for Brooke to see that become a reality with the Project Chairs and each of their committees this year.

Brooke grew up in McKinney, TX and is the proud wife to Tony Paschali, and mom to Payton (4) and Presley (2). Brooke says she is blessed to have the opportunity to stay home with her girls. Another passion of Brooke’s is a nonprofit called Nurses for Newborns, where she has served on the board for the last 2 years. Brooke and her family are very active in the Rolling Hills Community Church where they serve as small group leaders. Before settling down, Brooke lived in London, Greece, New Zealand & Portland, OR but now she loves calling Nashville home! Brooke says, “It’s such a great, vibrant city with so much to offer….and fantastic place to raise a family!”


Outstanding Sustainer of the Year Service Award

Julie Walker

Junior League of Nashville Past President, Julie Wilson Walker, is the owner and instructor of The Bridge Lady and has taught over 900 people to play the most popular card game in the world. In the last 24 years, she has served on the boards of 17 nonprofits in Nashville including the Junior League of Nashville, YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, the Cheekwood Board of Trustees and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and is currently the Board Chair of the Nashville Zoo, the President-Elect of the Garden Club of Nashville and is serving on the Frist Center for the Visual Arts Board of Trustees and the Leadership Nashville Alumni Association Board.

In 2012, Julie was inducted into the YWCA’s Academy for Women of Achievement. She has served as President of the Junior League of Nashville, was a founding member of the Susan G. Komen Nashville affiliate and is an alumna of Leadership Nashville. Julie has chaired countless fund-raisers, including the inaugural Frist Gala, the Swan Ball, the Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville, the Iroquois Steeplechase, the Hermitage Gala and the Children’s Miracle Network telethon.

Julie moved to Nashville from Dallas in 1991. She transferred her Junior League membership to the Nashville League, which she says, “…allowed me to immediately get involved with a great group of women and to feel at home in our new city.”

Her favorite placements were Community Research and Bethlehem Center. She noted it was such an honor and a big responsibility to decide which deserving agencies received our volunteers and funding through Community Research. With the Bethlehem Center, she taught math skills to middle-aged women with 4th grade math level ability. Julie says, “It was the most rewarding volunteer experience of my life.”

Julie also stated, “I met all of the women who would become my closest friends through the Junior League. There is no comparison to the bonding that happens when you are working side-by-side in the trenches for a good cause. Those experiences created my life-long commitment to the organization. As a Sustainer, I am so proud of the great work the actives and provisionals continue to do in our community on tough issues.”

In closing, Julie remarked, “I thought that being the President of the Junior League was the greatest honor of my life … but this is pretty close! I will remember this forever. Thank you so very much!”

Outstanding Community Service of the Year Award

Dr. Michael DeBaun
Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
JC Peterson Endowed Chair in Pediatrics
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. DeBaun was born in 1960 in St. Louis Missouri and attended Howard University for his college education where he graduated magna cum laude (chemistry) and Phi Beta Kappa. He obtained his Medical Doctorate and a Master’s Degree in Health Services Research at Stanford University Medical School. After completing his pediatric residency and fellowship in pediatric hematology oncology at Washington University School of Medicine, he attended Johns Hopkins School of Public Health where he received his MPH and completed an epidemiology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. He was Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis before he was recruited to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2010. Dr. DeBaun is Founding Director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease in Nashville Tennessee. The Center is one of the first in the country to establish a medical home care model for children and adults with sickle cell disease in a community health center.
Dr. Michael DeBaun has been the guiding light of the Junior League of Nashville Sickle Cell and Asthma program. In 2011, two Vanderbilt physicians came to JLN with a vision to create a “medical home” to comprehensively meet the medical needs of children with sickle cell disease and asthma. Since receiving the $1.5 million gift over five years to create the JLN Sickle Cell and Asthma program, Dr. DeBaun has grown the program into one of the most respected program models in the country and the world. When the then Home Board of the Junior League of Nashville was reviewing granting opportunities in 2011, it was the vision of Dr. Michael DeBaun that captured the hearts and minds of the leadership in the league then, so much that our 8th Supplemental Agreement to Monroe Carrel Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt was specifically to fund the growth of the “home model” for treating the children and families affected by Sickle Cell and Asthma.
Dr. DeBaun is an internationally recognized physician–scientist whose advocacy and research have resulted in fundamental advances in care of children and adults with sickle cell disease. Dr. DeBaun was the primary physician author of the Sickle Cell Treatment Act, signed by President Bush into law on Oct. 22, 2004 Title VII, creating regional networks for enhanced services for children and adults with sickle cell disease. For over 20 years, his efforts in sickle cell disease have focused on epidemiology, cognitive impact, clinical significance and strategies for preventing strokes and silent strokes in children. He has been the leader of multiple clinical trials treating and preventing strokes in children with sickle cell disease in North America, Europe, and Africa. He was the leader for a training grant supporting faculty participating in the Nigerian stroke prevention trials in children with sickle cell disease and faculty in Ghana, where the multi-disciplinary team recently demonstrated a decrease in the pregnancy death rate from approximately 10% to 1%.

In 2009, Dr. DeBaun became an elected member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, formally Institute of Medicine. Based on his significant contribution to advancing the care of children with sickle cell disease he received the international award, 2014 Ernest Beutler Prize and Lecture in Clinical Science from the American Society of Hematology. Due to his success in mentoring, in 2017, he received the international Maureen Andrews Award from the Society of Pediatric Research. Dr. DeBaun has been married for 30 years to his best friend Sandra, and they have two children Malcolm DeBaun MD; and Morgan DeBaun.