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8/13/18

This past Saturday (8/11) at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Leadership Tennessee presented living legend Dolly Parton with the first ever Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award for her selfless work to improve lives across Tennessee. 

“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. “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.”

She has shown her love for the Volunteer State throughout her career. After the devastating Gatlinburg wildfires in 2016, Parton's Emmy-winning "Smoky Mountains Rise" telethon raised more than $12.5 million for her My People Fund to provide financial assistance to victims of those fires. 

Parton's selflessness expands beyond her contributions to Tennessee. Her Imagination Library mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school regardless of family income. Since its launch in 1995, more than 100 million books have been mailed to children in five different countries on three different continents. 

The Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award, designed and created by artist and Nashville native Ben Caldwell, marked the culmination of a year celebrating Leadership Tennessee’s fifth anniversary.