By Ann Schmidt
Published May 06, 2019
The 73-year-old country music legend and the Dollywood Foundation were presented with a 2018 Director’s Community Leadership Award on Friday, after she was nominated by the Knoxville Division of the FBI.
Through the “My People Fund,” Parton and the Dollywood Foundation donated a total of $9 million to the victims of the Gatlinburg wildfires, according to WKRN.
Though the singer wasn’t able to be there in person, she did send in a video thanking the FBI and her fellow award recipients.
“Hey everybody, it’s Dolly, and I am so sorry I couldn’t be with you today to personally accept the award from Director Wray,” she said in the video.
“But it is an honor for me to be recognized by the FBI, because there’s no higher calling than your mission to protect and serve us. And to my fellow recipients, thank you for all you do for our communities. Your work inspires all of us,” she added.
“So may y’all continue to have the faith, the strength, and the vision to make your dreams come true. So many thanks again, and remember that I will always love you! And thank you again,” she concluded her thanks, partially singing.
In a statement, the FBI said it was honoring Parton because of her decision 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,” the statement said.
Wildfires ravaged Gatlinburg in 2016, damaging close to 1,000 homes. 13 people were killed.