Creating miracles through heartfelt philanthropy

Published 11:54 am Monday, June 3, 2024


The grandson of Irish-Catholic railroad workers, George Ready lives by the philosophy, “To be generous toward and to care for the less fortunate is to be a tiny bit like the nature of God.”

Those words guided him as he graduated law school, raised a family, and served as state senator and circuit court judge in Mississippi. They took on new meaning 11 years ago when his son Banks had a devastating car accident and was airlifted to the Elvis Presley Trauma Center.

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“They saved his life,” George said. “After that, my wife and I always said if we were ever in the position, we wanted to do something for Regional One Health.”

The Readys fulfilled that goal by cutting the ribbon on the Banks Ready Neuro Motor Cognitive Gym, a facility for patients with traumatic brain injuries similar to the one their son endured.

Their journey started May 24, 2012, when Banks was a student at Mississippi State University.

“He was driving back to see his sister graduate high school,” George said. “He came over a hill near Grenada on I-55, and there was a wreck at the bottom. You can’t see over the hill, and late at night, you’re not expecting stopped traffic. He ran into an 18-wheeler at the end of the line.”

The collision was catastrophic, but George said his son benefitted from a pair of miracles.

“There was an empty ambulance coming back from the other wreck, and they stopped to give immediate aid. When they saw how bad it was, they called in a helicopter,” George said. “Also, he was just north of the Grenada exit, and that’s the cutoff to go to Regional One Health. The fact that he was taken there was a blessing. That’s why we do this.”

At the hospital, the Readys learned Banks had suffered a Diffuse Axonal Injury and nerve endings in his brain could no longer communicate. He also had a broken femur, which caused an embolism that traveled to his brain. “There was talk about whether he would survive or function in any way,” George said.

But Banks, God, and former head of trauma Martin Croce, MD had other ideas.

Dr. Croce, now Chief Medical Officer, informed George and Amanda that he would personally be in charge of their son’s care and that he believed Banks could beat the odds.

“In this situation, hope and faith are all you have to hold onto,” George said. “After that, we had both of those. I talked to friends in the medical community, and they said, ‘That is the place you want to be – it’s the best place in this part of the country. That turned out to be absolutely true.”

George will always remember the gratitude he felt to have the resources to ensure his son could continue to receive exceptional care.

That gratitude stayed with him as Banks grew more alert. As he spoke his first words in a voice barely above a whisper. As he started to walk.

It stayed with him as Banks came home before Christmas, started having full conversations, got a job, got married, had a family of his own.

George and Amanda talked over the years about giving back to Regional One Health, and they realized that goal with the help of their donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi. The Banks Ready Neuro Motor Cognitive Gym opened in May 2023 to give therapists and patients the technology and space they need.

“Many of our patients aren’t conscious yet, or they’re minimally conscious. Our goal is to help them emerge from a minimally conscious state so they can progress to the next step of their care,” speech-language pathologist Melissa Covington explained. “It’s a wonderful space, and the equipment is geared toward the needs of patients with severe brain injuries. We can use this facility to help patients improve their quality of life.”

As for George and Amanda, they’re grateful to have come full circle. “We feel blessed that we had the opportunity to do this,” George said. “The biggest thing is to provide a chance for more families to have the opportunities we had, and for all patients in our community to have hope.”