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Charlie Daniels Supports Vets with Annual Patriot Award Dinner

These winners exemplify “the efforts and dedication of TJHP’s purpose to continuously care, support and encourage the men, women, and families who have served our great nation.”

Written by Deborah Evans Price
Charlie Daniels Supports Vets with Annual Patriot Award Dinner
Left to right: Charlie Daniels' manager and The Journey Home Project co-founder David Corlew, Mark “Oz” Geist, Rone (dog) Darryl Worley, Charlie Daniels; Photo credit: Rick Diamond Photography

On the eve of the anniversary of 9/11, country icon Charlie Daniels hosted the second annual Charlie Daniels Patriot Award Dinner at The Palm Restaurant in Nashville. Darryl Worley and Chris Young were among those on hand to help Daniels honor this year’s Patriot Award winners—Nashville businessman Donnie Mingus and international talent buyer/promoter Judy Seale. The event raised more than $200,000 for The Journey Home Project (TJHP), a non-profit organization Daniels and his manager, David Corlew, launched in 2014.

Young, who was last year’s Patriot Award honoree presented a third award to the Shepherd’s Men, an organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the SHARE Military Initiative at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

“I have learned a lot since we started this,” Daniels told Sounds Like Nashville at the event. “I knew there were things our veterans needed, but I had no idea how diverse and how many there were and how badly a lot of things were needed. We think the Veteran’s Administration is going to take care of our folks, but bureaucracies are slow by definition. Some of the needs are immediate so organizations like us and others that we support—we give money to other organizations that are doing the same thing we are—we try to fill in the gaps. We try to make life more comfortable for our vets, and the things we give are needs. They aren’t luxuries. They are basic needs.”

Music industry insiders and community leaders were among those at the event, which also raised money for vets with a silent auction. Among the evening’s highlights were Daniels’ singing “Let ‘em Win Or Bring ‘em Home” and Worley’s performance of his classic “Have You Forgotten?” Hosted by SiriusXM’s Storme Warren and former Navy SEAL David Rutherford, the event also included remarks from decorated military veterans including retired Marine Mark “Oz” Geist, a Benghazi survivor and co-author of 13 Hours, US Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, retired US Army Lieutenant General and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik.

Patriot Award honorees are chosen by Daniels and Corlew, who look for people who exemplify “the efforts and dedication of TJHP’s purpose to continuously care, support and encourage the men, women, and families who have served our great nation.”

Patriot Award recipient Mingus is president of Team Construction and a staunch supporter of our nation’s vets. Seale is president of Judy Seale International/Stars for Stripes and has spent many years taking entertainers to war zones around the world to perform for our nation’s troops.

Back row left to right: Darryl Worley, Storme Warren, Chris Young; Middle row left to right: Sarah Morrison (Shepherd Center), Travis Ellis (Shepherd's Men), Judy Seale, General Max Haston (TJHP), Donnie Mingus; Front row left to right: David Corlew (TJHP), Charlie Daniels; Photo credit: Rick Diamond Photography
Back row left to right: Darryl Worley, Storme Warren, Chris Young; Middle row left to right: Sarah Morrison (Shepherd Center), Travis Ellis (Shepherd’s Men), Judy Seale, General Max Haston (TJHP), Donnie Mingus; Front row left to right: David Corlew (TJHP), Charlie Daniels; Photo credit: Rick Diamond Photography

“I can’t think of anybody that needs to be honored more than Judy Seale,” Daniels says. “She has almost like an obsession about getting entertainment to our troops and not just in the glamour spots but in places you’ve never heard of and never will hear of, places where there are just a few people. When we’ve been over, we’d get in a Black Hawk [helicopter] and fly to some little place out in the middle of the desert where there were just a few people there. We’d take some acoustic instruments, sit in the chow hall and do some songs for them. Judy gets entertainment where it needs to be.”

Worley agreed. “Twelve or 13 out of 14 trips to Afghanistan were with Judy and I think nearly every time we’ve been to Iraq, with the exception of one or two times. Almost all my travels to the war zones have been with Miss Judy Seale,” he said. “I’m sure excited to be here tonight. She deserves this award more than anybody I know. She’s a true patriot and a hard, hard worker. She’s blessed my life with so many incredible experiences. We went over to Afghanistan for 10 or 11 days one time and we never saw a big base the whole time. We flew into Bagram, which is a big air base, but once we left Bagram, we never went back to any big bases. We saw special forces soldiers and Navy SEAL teams and all these different people that nobody goes to visit.”

Like Daniels, Worley is a well known supporter of our military and enjoyed spending the second annual Charlie Daniels Patriot Award Dinner with like-minded people. “There’s a group of people here that truly love and appreciate what our military does for us and we love their families,” he tells SLN. “We are really committed to our veterans. It’s sad our government doesn’t do more than they do to support these men and women and their families. Because there’s not as much help there, we have to step up on a private level and do something. So we all do different projects and have a lot of different irons in the fire, but we all come together when we need to and make these kind of things happen.  I’m just honored to be a part of it. It gives me a little chance to do a something else to thank these guys and gals for what they do for us.”