Subscribe

Dolly Parton raises money for 'my people,' victims of Tenn. wildfires

Ms. Parton set a lofty goal of giving $1,000 to every family that has lost their primary residence in Tennessee's deadly wildfires last month, through the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund.

  • close
    Dolly Parton poses with Don McLean during a taping for Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Rise Telethon Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Parton has lined up an all-star list of performers for a three-hour telethon to raise money for thousands of people whose homes were damaged or destroyed in Tennessee wildfires.
    Mark Humphrey/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country music icon Dolly Parton's home and businesses in East Tennessee were spared from deadly wildfires last month, but she's pitching in to help her neighbors recover from the devastation.

She was to headline a telethon Tuesday from Nashville, featuring performances from Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams Jr., Chris Stapleton, Cyndi Lauper and more. The telethon was to be broadcast on Great American Country, AXS-TV, RFD and The Heartland Network at 8 p.m. Eastern and streamed live on USAToday.com and affiliate newspapers in Tennessee.

Parton set a lofty goal of giving $1,000 to every family that has lost their primary residence through the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund.

Recommended: Fighting wildfires: seven cutting-edge technologies

"It doesn't sound like a lot of money but we're talking about thousands of people, hundreds and hundreds of people," Parton said Tuesday. "If we could give $1,000 a month for six months, that would give people a chance. And if we raise more money than we hope to, then we'll just do more."

This Christmas, she'll return home to East Tennessee to see the damage from the fires that spread to more than 2,500 structures in Sevier County and killed 14 people.

"I'll get to have Christmas with my family in those warm cozy houses, but we know that there are so many this time of year that are not going to get to have Christmas in a warm cozy house because they are gone," Parton said. "So that's why it is so important that we do what we can. But I am sure I will be devastated when I see some of the stuff."

Her famous friends stepped up to help before the telethon even began, with large donations from Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.

Parton said she feels a kinship to all the hard-working mountain people who have lost so much around her.

"We are mountain tough," Parton said. "They have to be tough. You have to be physically tough, you have to be emotionally tough, and you have to be strong. People have to scrape their living out of the soil in a lot of ways."

She added: "That's why it is so important because all of these people, even though they are not blood kin, they really do feel like my people."

 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK