John Rich and Alabama lead singer Randy Owen have enjoyed a close friendship over the years, with John even producing Randy's 2010 solo album, 'One on One.' So it seems fitting that the 'Celebrity Apprentice' winner would become the very first recipient of the Randy Owen Angels Among Us Award.

The honor, which was given during the recent Country Cares for St. Jude Kids seminar, recognizes someone in the country music community who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases at St. Jude. John raised more than $1.4 million for the organization while on the hit TV show.

"St. Jude holds a very special place in my heart," the singer-songwriter tells Billboard. "It's like no other place and I'm just so honored to help raise awareness for this organization and to receive the first-ever Angels Among Us Award from Randy."

The Alabama frontman, who started Country Cares for Kids in 1989, was thrilled to honor his friend. "This past year John really embodied what Country Cares for St. Jude Kids is all about," he notes. "It's really unbelievable to look back over the past 23 years and see what the country music industry has helped us accomplish for St. Jude. This award is a way for us to say thank you to select members of the industry for their continued commitment and support."

Since 1989, Country Cares for St. Jude Kids has raised an astonishing $400 million for the hospital. This year's event was attended by Martina McBride, Kix Brooks, Eden's Edge, Josh Thompson, the Eli Young Band and Katie Armiger.

The award-winning musician is proud to continue his support the work of St. Jude's, explaining, "It is the No. 1 cancer research hospital for children in the world. It is a miraculous place not only for the patients they treat but for the research they do."

John will head back into the studio with his Big & Rich duo partner, Big Kenny, in 2012. The pair will also perform several dates, including a stop at Country Thunder in Arizona. Keep track of their schedule here

Watch John Rich's 'Shuttin' Detroit Down' Video

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