First Recipient of the Media & Entertainment Excellence Award

First Recipient of the Media & Entertainment Excellence Award

In 2004, I was invited to Washington D.C, to attend a very special event on Capitol Hill. My driver was late getting me from the airport to the venue, due to the traffic and maize of government buildings. When I finally arrived, officials were standing outside waiting to escort me quickly through all of the usual security stations, and into a large event room. It was a gathering of members of the U.S. Congress, rows of reporters, and television cameras, unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Jim Havey, my publicist, was very familiar with all of the Washington “hoopla” as he called it, quickly pulled me aside and said “savor this moment, and always remember you are the first recipient of this prestigious honor!” As Senator Clinton came to the podium on the stage, she stated the reason for the event, and a large video screen began featuring some of my life’s work. When my name was called, it hit me hard causing a river of tears to stream down my face, my mind took me back to my childhood hometown of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. I was 9 years old, sitting on my bed, with my first guitar, learning chords from a book, and now was headed for a stage that was never in my dreams. Trying to wipe the tears from my face, I walked onto the stage shaking the hands of all the dignitaries while making my way to the podium. Pausing for a moment, I felt the comforting presence of those (angels) in my life that helped me get to this place. It was my sweet family that sacrificed, and allowed the dreams, along with the teachers that saw promise, and so many friends, relatives, and fans that believed in me, and stoked the fire with pure love. The award was announced, news cameras began flashing, representatives from Congress handed me the recognition plaque, and I realized this great honor was made possible by all of those angels.


This is such a wonderful way for Jim to share his amazing adventures with everyone. He has had such an incredible, unique life. I am so proud that he has made these stories come to life for us in such a special way.

I’m so enjoying these stories and very proud to have shared my childhood with my cuz. Man, we could write a book about those years and have all the readers laughing!

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