Toby Keith Honored With Atlantic Council Distinguished Leadership Award
Toby Keith has performed 11 USO Tours for the troops overseas and promoted patriotism in songs like "American Ride" and "Made in America." Now, the Oklahoma native has been honored with the prestigious Distinguished Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank.
The award, given to "remarkable individuals who represent the four pillars of global leadership -- political, military, business and artistic," recognizes Keith's "remarkable musical contributions and support for U.S. troops around the world."
The "35 MPH Town" singer was given the honor during a special ceremony on Thursday (April 30), during the organization's annual gala. Keith was introduced by Gen. James L. Jones, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and performed his No. 1 single "American Soldier" with help from his good friend and frequent co-writer, Scotty Emerick.
This isn't Keith's first recognition for his support of the troops overseas. In 2011, he was given the AARP Inspire Award, and in 2014, he was honored with the Spirit of the USO Award. Keith also launched a non-profit, Pros 4 Vets, along with several NFL players, which helps troops and their families after they return home from service.
“It’s a wonderful geography lesson. It’s a wonderful history lesson. Not to mention getting to shake hands with heroes every single day you’re over there,” Keith tells The Boot of his commitment to the USO Tours. “It also allows me to be the poster boy for the USO ... to get other entertainers and people who have something to offer to go over there and support our troops. I’m setting my benchmark so high at 160 shows and not showing any signs of stopping that I’m trying to shame people into at least going by and shaking hands with those people who are returning from deployment at the hospitals here in the states. That’s the least you could do.”
The Atlantic Council's Distinguished Leadership Award was also given to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Philip M. Breedlove and Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn A. Hewson.
The 53-year-old country star will kick off his 2015 Good Times & Pick Up Lines Tour on May 29; the tour includes stops at the 2015 Taste of Country Music Festival and Country Jam 2015, which are both in June. Keith will also be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame that same month, along with Bobby Braddock, Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter, blues legend Willie Dixon, Cyndi Lauper and Linda Perry.
A complete list of Keith's upcoming dates is available on his website.
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