“The Queen of Country” has been a critically and popularly acclaimed star of the entertainment industry for decades, but she is now being recognized for her lesser-known humanitarian work.
Nearly two months ago the Tennessee House of Representatives acknowledged the 73-year-old singer and actress Dolly Parton for her role in helping families recovering from the disastrous 2016 Smoky Mountain wildfires.
Then, on the first week of May, the “Jolene” singer was honored by FBI director Christopher Wray at the agency’s Washington headquarters, where she was presented with the 2018’s Director’s Community Leadership Award.
The deserved honor was accepted by the Dollywood Foundation’s CEO David Dotson on behalf of the artist, who wasn’t able to attend the ceremony due to her busy schedule.
Parton, who raised around $9 million via her foundation to give financial relief to 900 families whose homes were destroyed by the fires in her native Tennessee, was very humble in a video message she taped for the occasion.
"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."
“There's no higher calling than your mission to protect and serve us," she said in her acceptance speech, on which she recognized the other 57 people who shared the award with her.
"To my fellow recipients, thank you for all you do for our communities. Your work inspires all of us," she said.
"After the Gatlinburg wildfires, Sevier County native Dolly Parton decided to help her hometown neighbors who had lost everything," read a statement issued by the FBI on its website.
"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," it continued.
Parton’s charitable work goes back to at least 1995 when she started the Imagination Library inspired by her father, helping to distribute free books to preschoolers in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia.
In other recent news, Parton is set up to build a lifestyle empire to add to her many business ventures, with plans of launching clothing, jewelry, accessories and home goods inspired on her own signature style.
The star recently signed an exclusive global licensing deal with the management company IMG, in a smart move that will further capitalize on Parton’s impressive fan-base.
“I am excited to be working with IMG on a global scale to give my fans products that they will cherish for years to come. You might even see my mug on a mug,” Parton told WWD.