The 3rd annual Charlie Daniels Patriot Awards Dinner raised more than $250,000 last week for our nation’s military veterans. The event, a benefit for the late Country Music Hall of Fame member’s veterans’ non-profit, The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project (TCDJHP), was held at The City Winery in Nashville.
The evening featured a live performance by multi-platinum global entertainer Chris Young, special guest speakers and presentations of the 2021 Charlie Daniels Patriot Award to recipients: country star Darryl Worley, decorated military veteran Mark “Oz” Geist (Benghazi survivor and co-author of 13 Hours / U.S. Marine Corps, retired), the Daniels Center at MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) and firearms manufacturers Marty and Cindy Daniel of Daniel Defense.
Worley, who also performed his patriotic 9-11 No. 1 hit “Have You Forgotten,” was overwhelmed with the evening. “I was humbled to receive the Patriot Award in the presence of so many veterans that have given selfless service to our nation,” says Worley. “I was so honored to be at the top of Charlie’s list. It all just makes me want to ‘do it better!’”
“This year we were faced with both a physical challenge as well as an emotional one … moving venues as well as trying to do one without Charlie,” explains David Corlew, Daniels’ longtime manager and TCDJHP co-founder. “I quote Charlie in saying, ‘By the grace of almighty God and the United States military,’ we did it. It was an epic evening with friends, family, an awesome group of veterans, warriors and music giants. It couldn’t have been any better, and I know Charlie would be proud.”
Prior to his passing last year, Daniels and Corlew handpicked this year’s Patriot Award recipients. The criteria for the award is based on the mission of the organization: to support veterans in their return, rehabilitation, and reintegration back into civilian life. The award honors a person, persons, or group that fulfills and exemplifies the efforts and dedication of TCDJHP’s purpose to continuously care, support and encourage the men, women, and families who have served our great nation. Previous recipients include Young, Mike Huckabee, Jude Seale, William Horton, Donnie Mingus and The Shepherd’s Center.
Special guest speakers and presenters included Corlew, TCDJHP board member Major General Terry “Max” Haston (retired), former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, David Rutherford (former U.S. Navy SEAL), Eddie Gallagher (former U.S. Navy SEAL) and decorated military veteran Chris Spence, one of the “Real Horse Soldiers” portrayed in the 2018 critically-acclaimed film, 12 Strong, starring Chris Hemsworth. SiriusXM’s Storme Warren co-hosted along with Rutherford. “We’d like to thank everyone at TCDJHP, Leaving Legacies, the Mingus family, Team Construction and all of our sponsors and celebrities,” adds Corlew. “We’d also like to send a special ‘thank you’ salute to 96-year-old Navy vet Mathias Gutman who was in attendance. He served on six islands in