The children of St. Jude – Mary and Ryan

Mary Browder Howell from Murray and Ryan Auten from Calvert City were right there on the wall in big pictures when photographer Chad Darnall and I went to Memphis this spring for our annual trip to St. Jude, so we caught up with them here at the Dream Home. 

What a major coup!  We got two big stars under the same roof, while they were working on that roof, actually. 

Mary Browder had a St. Jude publicity shoot in LA with actor John Hamm. The "Mad Men" star is from St. Louis, so he's familiar with our area.

"He kinda scared me a little bit because I told him where I lived, and he said 'Oh, is that near Paducah?' and it was like whoa!" Mary said.

She also worked with  Michael Strahan.

"He's just a big kid," she said.

Then there was a separate shoot in New York. Mary did some Christmas shopping for St. Jude kids with Marlo Thomas, who also did some publicity shots with Ryan. Thomas, whose father founded St. Jude, must have been a sucker for that green bow tie.

"She's nice. She's pretty," Ryan said. "She gave me hugs, kisses and stuff."

Local stars Ryan and Mary both wanted to donate their time and talents here. And they're both really really cool!  It's a really cool house, too —our 10th Dream Home to be built in Paducah. The first nine have raised more than $6.5 for the children of St. Jude, children like Mary Browder and Ryan – our little local stars.

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