Dolly Parton honored with the first-ever Excellence in Leadership Award
Tennessee's own Dolly Parton was celebrated with an award bearing her name Saturday night.
Parton is the first-ever recipient of the Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award. She was chosen for her "selfless work to improve lives across Tennessee," a Leadership Tennesee spokesperson explained.
First Lady Crissy Haslam said no one deserved to be the first recipient of the award more than Dolly Parton.
"Tennessee has many talented sons and daughters but there are few who are as beloved as Dolly Parton,” First Lady Crissy Haslam, chair of the Fifth Anniversary Committee said. “And while she may be most known for her music, she has undoubtedly proved to be an exemplar of leadership through her generosity, humility, inclusiveness, expertise and passion. As a state, we are indebted to all that Dolly has done for Tennessee and its people; there is no one better suited for the very first Excellence in Leadership Award.”
Parton has made many contributions to the Volunteer State. In 2016, her "Smoky Mountains Rise" telethon raised more than $12.5 million for her My People Fund which helps provide financial assistance to victims of the Gatlinburg wildfires. Parton took home an Emmy for the telethon as well.
Since 1995, Parton's Imagination Library has provided books for children regardless of their family's economic income. Over 100 million books have been given to children in five different countries and on three different continents.
Parton's music has brought joy and comfort to millions of fans as well.
“My dream was to make as many people happy as I could in this life, and I am grateful to Leadership Tennessee and First Lady Crissy Haslam for recognizing our work done to improve the lives of all Tennesseans,” Parton said.
Dolly Parton explained that she is honored that future leaders will receive an award bearing the Parton family name.
“Even more humbling is for decades to come the future leaders of Tennessee will receive an award with the Parton family name attached to it, and for that I am truly honored and thankful.”
The award was presented at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. It was designed and created by artist and Nashville native Ben Caldwell.