FBI Honors Dolly Parton For Helping Hundreds Of Families Affected By Gatlinburg Wildfire

FBI Honors Dolly Parton For Helping Hundreds Of Families Affected By Gatlinburg Wildfire

With the help of Dolly Parton's foundation, she was able to provide $10,000 for 900 families who were victims of the wildfire.

During a ceremony at the FBI Headquarters in Washington on Friday singer Dolly Parton was honored with the 2018 Director's Community Leadership Award for the selfless financial aid she provided to help the victims of the 2016 Gatlinburg wildfire in Tennessee. The award was presented by  Director Christopher Wray and was received by Dollywood Foundation's CEO, David Dotson on her behalf. She used her foundation to raise money for the wildfire which took dozens of lives and destroyed several properties. 



Parton thanked the FBI for such an honor. "There’s no higher calling than your mission to protect and serve us." She then went on to thank her 57 other fellow recipients, "To my fellow recipients, thank you for all you do for our communities. Your work inspires all of us."  The 73-year-old singer added, "May y'all continue to have the faith, the strength, the vision to make your dreams come true." The video ended with her expressing the love she has for everyone. 


As reported by CNN the FBI website stated,  "After the Gatlinburg wildfires, Sevier County native Dolly Parton decided to help her hometown neighbors who had lost everything. Parton and the Dollywood Foundation provided $10,000 to each of 900 families. The donations brought renewed hope to a community devastated by the worst natural disaster in Tennessee history." Fortunately, Parton's theme park, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge was spared by the fire but that didn't stop her from extending a helping hand to those who were affected.


In an essay penned by Dolly Parton for CNN, she said, "Everybody who knows anything about me knows I was born and raised in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Even though I left to follow my dreams the day after I graduated from high school, my family and my mountains are where my roots are and where my strength has always come from, especially during hard times." Recognizing everyone living in the area as a part of her "family" she just had to take care of them. "Your neighbors are your family 'cause they take care of you, too, and I've always thought of everybody in my mountains as part of my family."


"They really are My People," claimed the singer. Expressing the mental turmoil she had been through she said, "I hurt and grieved and prayed right along with them, and because I'm one of them and they are part of me, I knew that I had to do something to get my people through these hard times and see them land on their feet on the other side. That's what families do. That's what neighbors do. I knew that my people had helped me out through the years — been there and helped see me make all my dreams come true. And I was going to do everything I could to put their dreams back on track, too."


With the help of her foundation, they were able to provide "$1000 every month for six months" to the affected families. Over 900 families were catered to every month and the total amount offered to them came up to $10,000 for every family. Announcing her future ventures she said, "Our next step is to continue to look at what's ahead for everyone and our long-term recovery here." They will be partnering up with the Mountain Tough Recovery Organization, a group headed by leaders of Sevier County and the cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville. The group was formed to address longer-term needs for residents affected by the fire, like housing, employment, and counseling. "And we'll get there because that's what us mountain folks do," she added.


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