Country artist and philanthropic leader Dolly Parton has donated $200,000 to volunteer fire departments in Sevier County who bravely fought against the severe wildfires that ravaged the land in 2016.
The fire, which broke out in late 2016 after months of severe drought, killed 14 people and caused damage or total destruction to more than 2,500 homes throughout Sevier County in Tennessee.
Parton was brokenhearted over the devastation to her homeland, and immediately released funds to help the families who suddenly found themselves homeless.
As of Dec. 2018, Parton’s Mountain Tough Recovery Team finished delivering funds to residents as promised.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, around 885 families received assistance from Parton’s “My People Fund” in the amount of $1,000 a month for a six-month period after the fire.
Parton continued raising extra money on behalf of the families, hosting a telethon that raised over $9 million dollars. Parton gave the extra money to the families in need, meaning she was able to give $10,000 to each family in total.
With $200,000 left, Parton found a fitting way to use up the rest of the money in the fund.
On March 16, Parton gave $20,000 to eight volunteer fire departments in Sevier County and an additional $40,000 to their area training center, according to a press release.
In a meeting with the area fire chiefs of Sevier County at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, Parton showed her gratitude for the first responders by presenting them with checks.
“It is only fitting that the last of the My People Fund will go to those who were the first to respond to the fires,” Parton said.
— WLOS (@WLOS_13) March 20, 2019
Tim Baker, chief of the Waldens Creek Volunteer Fire Department and president of the Sevier County Fire Chiefs Association, said his department plans to use the money to purchase necessary gear and replace the roof on the station.
“We are so thankful for this donation to all of the fire departments and for our training center,” Baker said.
It’s a blessing to be able to donate the last of the My People Fund to the first responders! https://t.co/luu3dADRUc
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) March 18, 2019
The training center is a shared facility, used by all fire departments in the county including local law enforcement. The money will be used to build a new classroom in the facility, Baker said.
“This is fantastic,” Baker said. “We needed about $40,000 to meet our goal for the classroom and now we have it!”
In true Dolly fashion, the legendary artist said it was a “blessing” to be able to donate the funds in this manner.
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