Dolly Parton Donates $200,000 to Volunteer Fire Departments in Rural Tennessee
Dolly Parton has donated $200,000 to volunteer fire departments in rural Tennessee who helped battle the deadly wildfires that swept the area in 2016.
Parton donated through her Dollywood Foundation's My People Fund. She gave $20,000 donations to eight volunteer fire departments in her home county of Sevier along with $40,000 to the county's training center, Nashville's Tennessean newspaper reports.
Parton even went as far to meet the fire chiefs on Saturday (March 16). "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 says in a press release.
Two days after the five-day wildfires that affected the Gatlinburg area in 2016, Parton announced the creation of the My People Fund. The fires came after a severe drought that lasted for months on end. The flames killed fourteen people and destroyed more than 2,500 homes.
Through her fund, Parton also gave back to the families who were affected by the tragedy. She gave $1,000 checks monthly for a six-month period after the fire to 885 families who lost their homes. Parton raised money via a telethon she hosted, which raised over $9 million. With help from the donations, Parton raised each of the 885 families' last check to $5,000, and each family ended up with $10,000 in aid from the My People Fund.
The chief of the Walden's Creek Volunteer Fire Department and president of the Sevier County Fire Chiefs Association, Tim Baker, said his department will use the money to purchase gear and replace the roof of their station. Baker went onto say that Parton's donation to their training center will help build a new classroom in the facility.
See Dolly Parton Through the Years