first_imgThere are few figures in the music and entertainment industry who loom as large as Dolly Parton. The award-winning singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, businesswoman, author, and philanthropist is the most-honored female country artist of all time, and her exploits outside the world of country music have made her a beloved international personality on many fronts.However, despite her 50+ years worth of fame and accolades, Dolly has never forgotten where she came from. She grew up in rural Tennessee as one of 12 children. While her father never went to school nor learned to read and write, he was an admirable leader of his large family. Dolly maintains that despite his scholarly shortcomings, her father was the smartest man she ever knew.This weekend, the non-profit organization Leadership Tennessee honored Dolly Parton with the first-ever Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The award will be given out yearly to future state residents who follow Dolly’s example.Back in February, Parton was honored for the work done by her non-profit foundation, Imagination Library, which celebrated 100M books donated to children in need. Inspired by her father, Parton launched Imagination Library in 1995 with the mission of promoting and nurturing literacy in young children by sending one new book per month to families in need from their kids’ birth all the way through kindergarten.More recently, Parton spearheaded fundraisers to help victims of the 2016 East Tennessee wildfires, including the “Smoky Mountains Rise” telethon that featured Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams Jr., Alison Krauss, and Chris Stapleton–raising over 12.5 million dollars for wildfire victims.“My dream was to make as many people happy as I could in this life, and I am grateful to Leadership Tennessee and First Lady Crissy Haslam for recognizing our work done to improve the lives of all Tennesseans,” Parton expressed. “Even more humbling is for decades to come the future leaders of Tennessee will receive an award with the Parton family name attached to it, and for that I am truly honored and thankful.”[via Rolling Stone]last_img