Dolly Parton Presents Donation for Nashville Flood Relief
Dolly Parton invited select members of the media, including The Boot, to her Nashville offices on Wednesday, June 2, where the superstar presented a $250,000 check to the United Way of Middle Tennessee to help aid flood relief efforts. Introduced by David Dotson, president of the Dollywood Foundation, as "perhaps East Tennessee's greatest gift to Middle Tennessee and to the world," and looking positively radiant in a yellow outfit, Dolly greeted everyone by saying, "I wore my sunshine color so we would never have this much rain again at one time in the state of Tennessee and certainly around Nashville."
Expressing extreme pride at how her fellow Tennesseans, including her many friends in the music business, have come together to help those affected by the devastating flood last month, Dolly said, "I certainly know how we got the name the Volunteer state."
Dolly said that after speaking to Nashville's Mayor Karl Dean about the fundraising effort at Dollywood and Dixie Stampede, they decided to team up with the United Way's Restore the Dream Fund to make sure the money raised would be used effectively.
"United Way are going into these areas where people lost everything and are trying to get them back into their homes," she said. "And that was very important to me, that we really work with the people that are trying to get that done."
Introduced by Dolly, Nashville's Mayor Karl Dean said he wanted people, especially those coming to town for CMA Music Festival and other events around that time that Music City is "open for business."
Dolly being Dolly, naturally she couldn't help but lighten the mood by saying, "My husband's name is Carl Dean, and everybody's been calling from all over the state saying what a wonderful job my husband's been doing. But, of course, my husband's not the same as the mayor, Karl Dean, but I want to commend you, Mayor, for doing such a wonderful job."
The mayor, after noting that perhaps in the next life he'll be fortunate enough to be the one who's married to Dolly, offered his thanks to the iconic entertainer, saying, "You are a legend in many ways, but I think this act of generosity underscores the importance you have in this state and in this city." The mayor also praised Nashville's music community, saying that their efforts to pitch in happened almost immediately, and the effort continues with the Nashville Rising concert, the sold-out event planned for June 22.
The quarter-million-dollar donation made today was thanks to the effort led by Dolly to collect funds from her Dolly Helps Nashville event at Dollywood and Dixie Stampede, May 22-23. Area businesses near Dollywood also contributed to the fund, along with visitors to Dolly's official website.
In a question-and-answer session, Dolly revealed that she and her husband ("the other Carl Dean," with whom she recently celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary), surveyed flood damage at the Grand Ole Opry House and other areas. "We just could not believe our eyes at some of the people who had lost just absolutely everything, which was one of the reasons we thought we had to help these people out first. I'm sure Opryland will get built back up and it's gonna be great, but these people that have lost everything and a real chance of getting back in their homes, that's why it was so important to do whatever we could."
The Dollywood theme park is currently celebrating its 25th season.