When Tracy Sheehan’s family settled in Pensacola after her husband Heath retired from the military, she was presented with the opportunity to open a business and decided to go for it. She is a now the proud proprietor of Ninth Avenue Nutrition: A protein smoothie, high energy tea, and healthy juice bar located in Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital.

Born and raised in Pensacola, after attending the University of West Florida Tracy married a military professional. They returned to this area as their retirement home after 14 years of his Army service as a physician’s assistant. Tracy had planned to continue her teaching career for a while, but found that she wanted to try something different – and couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of Ninth Avenue Nutrition.

Every few months, she and her co-workers seek out an area of the hospital that could benefit from a sizeable donation. “A big part of our heart, “ she explains, “is to be able to give back some of what we make selling the shakes. That was our intent from the very beginning. We wanted to use money we made to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Working at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital has been an enjoyable learning experience for Tracy. She’s made many friends and speaks of the overwhelming friendliness of associates who smile and speak to those they encounter. The desire to be supportive and caring is always front and center for staff.

Yet, she wonders if the community fully realizes how kind everyone is at the facility, and how willing they are to be of assistance. It’s a source of great satisfaction when she sees employees going out of their way to help others, saying, “ I think as human beings, that’s what we are called to do, what Jesus wants us to do. It is greatly displayed in the hospital’s environment.”

Another reason Tracy thinks the hospital is such a blessing for the community is the level of trust it engenders, providing freedom from worry. Those with medical needs can always rely upon Ascension Sacred Heart to deliver outstanding treatment and comfort.

Tracy’s husband traveled extensively while in the Army, inspecting trauma centers and their preparedness to treat “elite people in our government all the way up to the President.” He regards Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital as a “phenomenal” facility for this area, with its state-of-the-art equipment that can handle any situation. Tracy agrees, saying, “It really is a wonderful place to be for the people I see every day that need care on many different levels.” This is just one more reason she has built into her business plan a commitment to give back to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital, using proceeds from Ninth Avenue Nutrition to make a difference where there is a need.


This is an excerpt from Stories from the Heart. Click to read more.

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