Country Stars Volunteer for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge Wildfires Telethon
A number of country artists came together on Friday night (Dec. 2) to help raise funds for those affected by the recent wildfires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
The Smoky Mountain Wildfires Telethon, hosted by Nashville's NBC affiliate WSMV-TV, will air in Music City from 3PM until 8PM and feature performances and "wishes of hope" from stars such as Kenny Chesney, Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley, John Rich, Ty Herndon and Kristian Bush. John Oates and Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and his daughter Electra will also perform, among others, and the Tennessean reports that artists such as Luke Bryan are contributing pre-recorded messages for wildfire victims.
Donations to The Smoky Mountain Wildfires Telethon can be made online at WSMV.com or in person at the Highland Park Church on Knob Road in Nashville, where the telethon is being hosted. All of the money raised will go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville Emergency Response Fund.
In addition to lending her time to Friday's telethon, Parton has also planned a telethon of her own, set for Dec. 13 in Nashville, to benefit her newly created My People Fund. The Sevier County native established the fund to provide $1,000 a month for six months to each of the families who lost their home due to the wildfires.
On Nov. 28, residents of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge — resort towns in East Tennessee’s Sevier County — were evacuated after wildfires spread into those areas. Per the Tennessee Emergency Management Association, there are 13 confirmed deaths and 100 confirmed injuries due to the fires. During the evacuations, guests of Dollywood’s cabins and DreamMore Resort were relocated; though the theme park itself was unharmed, a dozen of its Smoky Mountain Cabins were damaged or destroyed.
“I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains, and I am heartbroken. I am praying for all the families affected by the fire and the firefighters who are working so hard to keep everyone safe,” Parton said in a statement on Nov. 29. “It is a blessing that my Dollywood theme park, the DreamMore Resort and so many businesses in Pigeon Forge have been spared.”
According to TEMA, 1,413 structures were damaged or destroyed by the fires.
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