|Gala honors country music’s Lawrence, benefits NLOL|
|Thursday, September 27, 2012|
By SABRINA GARRETT
In his impressive 20-year career, country singer Tracy Lawrence has had 18 number one hits and sold 12.5 million albums.
Most would say that music is where his heart is – and that is partly true; however, his friends and neighbors in Wilson County know that Lawrence’s real passion is giving back.
On Tuesday, Sept. 25, the residents of Wilson County celebrated Lawrence’s long list of humanitarian achievements on what will forever be known as Tracy Lawrence Day. Lawrence was honored by Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead and County Mayor Randall Hutto that evening at the sold-out inaugural Wilson County Humanitarian Gala at Legacy Farms in Lebanon.
“With what you do – it gives us someone that we want to imitate,” Craighead said. Hutto added, “We are blessed in Wilson County to have you.’’
The event, which benefitted New Leash on Life, celebrated Lawrence’s local charitable efforts, including Golf for a Cure, Music with a Mission and the annual Mission Possible Turkey Fry, which feeds homeless at the Nashville Rescue Mission.
“He has always found time to give back,” Great American Country Host and longtime friend Storme Warren, who served as Master of Ceremonies, said.
Representatives from each of the charities took their turn at the podium to praise Lawrence’s work. Patty Harmon of Susan G. Komen said that the money raised at Golf for a Cure, held annually at Five Oaks Golf and Country Club in Lebanon, funded 5,000 mammograms for women in Wilson County.
Event Chair Denise Moore said that the journey to hosting a Humanitarian Gala started last year at New Leash on Life’s Artists for Animals event. “Tracy was on his way out of town and was kind enough to come by and be our headliner. He did something for us and was willing to lend a hand,” she said. “Animals don’t have a voice of their own.’’
Both Warren and Lawrence encouraged guests to “bid high” and “bid often” on the assortment of silent auction items, which included items from local shops like the Crystal Couture Store, as well as a highly coveted Peyton Manning football helmet, and live auction items. A “Day with Storme Warren” package sold to three high bidders for the price of $1,000 each.
“It is refreshing to see someone in the music industry who goes beyond their career to help others,” State Rep. Curry Todd. “This was one of the most well put on events I have been to in a long time.”
Songwriter Casey Beathard kept with the tone of the gala by performing Lawrence’s song “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” The song was especially moving to one of the guests at the event, Delaine Smith.
“I read the words to that song at my mother’s funeral (the late Betty B. Freeman). We found out during her fight with cancer who your friends really are,” she said.
New Leash on Life Director Amy Haverstick found out who friends of the animals are, too.
Haverstick said that without the generosity of the community, the no-kill shelter could not survive. Moore noted that at present time New Leash is in need of a new facility, so that they may help more animals find their forever homes. “Do what you can. The animals need you,” she said.
Moore said she wishes to thank the following for their involvement in making the Wilson County Humanitarian Gala a success: Kellie Bryson of Legacy Farms, who created the menu and donated the venue; Jacki Wickersham of Reveal Events & Style; Production Manager Chris Gilbert, Tammy Williams, Angela Wheeler and David and Carolyn Corlew.
“Thank you to those who bought tables and tickets and to all of the businesses for their auction donations,” Moore said. “Humbly, I thank Pam Black, Pat Asp, Pat Santilli and Amy Haverstick of New Leash on Life for their support. The sweet animals are better because of the love and devotion that they show each and every day.”