JSU Newswire
Jacksonville, Alabama

The Group Alabama Nominated for Humanitarian Award

Abby Knight
JSU News Bureau

Jacksonville State University alumnus and trustee Randy Owen and the group Alabama are one of three nominees for the first annual Home Depot Humanitarian Award to be presented at the Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony.

According to the awards website, the honor was created to recognize a group, duo or individual artist in the country music industry who is "committed to serving others and who has a generosity of spirit and a dedication to helping build the dreams of those in need."

The award is also the first fan-voted award in the 37-year history of the ACM awards. Music fans can access the website and vote for the country music artist or artists whose humanitarian efforts have been most inspiring to them.

Randy Owen and Alabama are co-founders of the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids program which began in 1989. Through radio stations, the annual event has raised more than $157 million in pledges for the children of the St. Jude Research Hospital. The radio-thon lasts two days and is highlighted by patient stories and celebrity vignettes and appearances and radio station promotions.

The hospital, located in Memphis Tennessee, is one of the world's premier centers for the research and treatment of diseases in children, primarily pediatric cancers. Founded by the late actor Danny Thomas, the money from the fund-raising arm of the hospital covers all care cost beyond that which is reimbursable by insurance and covers all costs if no insurance is available.

In addition to working with St. Jude Kids, the group has raised over $500,000 in the last 15 years for the Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranch. After 9-11, the group donated socks to fire and rescue personnel working at Ground Zero and made a $100,000 grant to the Fort Payne City School System.

Owen and his wife regularly host fundraisers for the Big Oak Ranch, which provides care for neglected and abused children. Bandmates Teddy Gentry supports the DeKalb County Advocacy Center and the Diabetes Association, and Mark Herndon is actively involved in the Chattanooga Speech and Hearing Center. Jeff Cook hosts a bass tournament for charity as well.

The other nominees are Reba McEntire and Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn. The recipient of the honor will receive a crystal award designed by Tiffany & Co. and will have a playground built in a city of the winner's choice through Home Depot and KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization that hosts "barn-raising" playground construction events. Votes can be cast at www.cmt.com/home.depot/vote.html.


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