We Are LaVergne: Stephanie Tellez

“How do you diaper a duck?” I asked Stephanie Tellez when she told me about the green leopard print custom-made diapers she used for Houdini and Snowball, her fowl friends from years ago.

“Very quickly,” she laughed. Actually when you put a diaper on a duck, they are usually already wearing diaper covers so you simply place the duck between your legs, unsnap the holder, and slide in the diaper. Then you re-snap the holder quickly “before the duck bites you.”

These are some of the happy memories Stephanie has of the web-footed pair, along with the nighttime snuggles. The ducks used to go to bed with her and keep her warm until it was their “real” bedtime. As they sensed Stephanie’s husband approaching, they’d go on their own to their cage because if they were already in the cage, he wouldn’t lock it. However if he had to move them off the bed, the cage door would be latched.

Eventually Houdini passed away and Stephanie placed Snowball at Mother Goose’s Mini Pet Farm near the Smoky Mountains. In the last few years, Snowball has found a wife and has sired at least 17 ducklings, so Stephanie is no longer worried that he misses her and his human family. But after the flooding in early May, Stephanie’s heart skipped a beat when she heard the unmistakable sounds of quacking in her back yard.

Stephanie, her husband Dan, along with two daughters and their son put on their wading boots, grabbed the flashlights and headed outside to save what sounded like ducks in distress. After getting stuck in the mud and drenched by the rain, they finally found the victims of their rescue effort, but instead of seeing helpless feathered friends… frogs. Apparently the frogs of LaVergne really enjoyed the massive rainfall.

When someone’s spirit is so generous that no rain can stop her from an animal rescue – even one with unexpected results – then it should be no surprise that Stephanie is heading up a massive benefit concert that will directly aid the residents of LaVergne who were victims of the heavy rains and flooding.

LaVergne’s Party in the Park is scheduled May 29th from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park off of Murfreesboro Road and Floyd Mayfield Drive. The day of helping will feature performances by musicians and bands from the area, local vendors will have the opportunity to set up information tables about their businesses, and other activities are planned including a dunking booth for the mayor and other dignitaries, face painting, and more.

Donations that are being earmarked specifically for LaVergne residents can be made at Regions Bank of LaVergne. Checks or cash may be donated to “LaVergne Party in the Park Flood Relief Fund.” Funds will then be disbursed via cashier’s check directly to the LaVergne victims, as identified by city officials via Box 100 in order to ensure fair and equitable distribution.

The Party in the Park is being sponsored both by the City of La Vergne and The Tanning Boutique, one of LaVergne’s newest businesses that opened on April 10th. Stephanie opened TTB after spending five years in the tanning industry. Offering only the best of the best, she requires everyone on her staff to be “Smart Tan Certified” to ensure that the proper guidelines outlined by the International Smart Tan Network are followed.

Stephanie wants her clients to understand proper skin care and the benefits of UV exposure – in controlled amounts. For example, the only natural way to get Vitamin D is through sunlight and the subsequent UVB exposure. Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, but a hormone. According to the Mayo Clinic web site, “The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones.”

Stephanie’s positive outlook on skin care is but one side of her sunny, generous disposition. She is passionate about LaVergne, where she has lived for nine years. As she worked to open her tanning boutique, the kindness shown to her by friends, neighbors, and other acquaintances in the community has helped inspire her goal to give back to the community.

Stephanie is offended when people joke about LaVergne and wishes the naysayers could have seen what happened here just as strongly as it happened in Nashville. “During the flood, we all came together to help. And it’s not just during disasters, it’s all the time,” she said.

“We do simple things, we see someone in the neighborhood and we wave. Like the lady who walks her dog. We wave every day. If she wasn’t there, I’d know something would be wrong.”

Stephanie believes there are isolated incidents of crime in every neighborhood in every state. Just because the incidents are reported almost gleefully when they occur in LaVergne, it doesn’t define who we are.

Weeks before the flood waters came and Nashville adopted the slogan “We are Nashville,” we were LaVergne.  “WE are LaVergne,” said Stephanie. “We are mailmen, dog walkers, meter readers, Moms, Dads, children. And we are people who care. We are neighbors helping neighbors. We are here for each other.”

To be a part of LaVergne’s Party in the Park, you can get yourself over to the park on May 29th, follow the Facebook fan page here, or contact Stephanie below.

Stephanie Tellez
The Tanning Boutique, LLC
3000 West Nir Shreibman Blvd
La Vergne, TN 37086
615-471-1011 fax
615-506-0608 cell

Meanwhile, I leave you with this last bit about Stephanie that was too fun not to tell you about:

She has long been a fan of the feathered population that inhabits our world. She and her family now have two Cockatiels named Cinnamon and Sunny; a “Lesser Sulfa Crested” Cockatoo named Poppy; and a Goffin Cockatoo aptly named Gabrielle – or Gabby – who loves to talk. When Stephanie is in the kitchen out of sight, Gabby begins yelling and the following conversation occurs:

“Yes Gabby?”
“Where you at?”
“In the kitchen!”
“What are you doing?”
“You know what I’m doing!”

And the conversation is repeated over and over until she comes back into visual range of Gabby. Kudos to Stephanie for both her bird talk and for her heroic efforts to help LaVergne.

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