Gila Rut turns 25, celebrates from the heart

Posted: July 14th, 2017 | Featured, News | No Comments

Salon to give mini-makeovers to families at Ronald McDonald House

By Margie M. Palmer

Gila Rut salon owner Keri Davis-Duffy has always believed in giving back. This year, in honor of the salon’s 25th anniversary, Davis-Duffy and her team will be venturing to the Ronald McDonald House to offer 25 mini-makeovers to the girls and their families.

Gila Rut will also be holding a month-long fundraising drive at the salon, located in the HUB shopping center in Hillcrest.

First-time customers can receive a $20 blow-dry service and repeating customers can opt for $10 luxury hand treatment, scrub, additional massage or mini-facial. All proceeds from these services, Davis-Duffy said, will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, located near Rady Children’s Hospital.

“We’ve actually been working with Ronald McDonald House for many years. Before they built their new 22,000-square-foot home five years ago, when we’d go up there we’d rent a van or little bus and bring people to our salon,” she said. “When they built the new facility, they put in a four-chair salon so now it’s easy to go there and offer services.”

Providing mini-makeovers to some of the families who are receiving services from Ronald McDonald House, she added, allows the salon team to provide some beauty and nurturing during a highly stressful and emotional time.

It’s a feel-good day in the middle of a bad situation.

“I have the chills even talking about it,” Davis–Duffy said. “They’re so grateful because they are there with a child that’s terminally ill and they don’t know how it’s going to turn out. They have to be strong for their kids. For people to come in and nurture them and touch them — it’s very emotional to hear their stories and it’s very humbling. It’s been very well-received, even from the fathers, who can get a haircut and a massage. It’s a reprieve for them.”

This year’s event will take place on Monday, July 25, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Davis-Duffy said her team members have been lining up to help.

“We had a big staff meeting to talk about this, and during that meeting I showed a five-minute video about what Ronald McDonald House does, who they are, and some real-life stories,” she said. “After [the video] was done, they were wiping their faces, all in tears. Right now, we have more than a dozen people who have signed up.”

Vince Speitel, Ronald McDonald House’s volunteer coordinator, said they’re thrilled that Gila Rut is coming back.

“Them coming here to see our families is tremendous because it brings normalcy to families. Many of these families get to the hospital only with the clothes on their back and Ronald McDonald House tried to take the edge off by providing a home away from home,” Speitel said. “Having Gila Rut come out to do what they do, it helps bring normalcy during the tough times.”

Davis-Duffy said she’s happy to help. This, being their 25th year in business, is all about the community.

“This is just such a time of reflection for us because what business can survive and thrive and continue to grow without community support? Over the years we’ve worked with a number of organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club and the Make-A-Wish Foundation and when we were talking as a company about how we wanted to give back to celebrate the anniversary it just felt like, that for some reason, it had to be Ronald McDonald House,” she said.

“This is our way of giving back and saying thank you.”

—Margie M. Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of news publications for the past 10 years. You can reach her at

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