Charlie Daniels unexpectedly passed away in July of 2020, and since then, his friend and manager David Corlew has been on a mission to keep Daniels' legacy alive.
The fourth annual Charlie Daniels Patriot Awards Dinner is a passion project for Corlew that leans into Daniels' dedication to veterans and his determination to ensure that Daniels' memory lives on. This year the dinner is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 26 at Nashville's City Winery. Proceeds from the evening will benefit Daniels' veterans non-profit, The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project (TCDJHP).
"We just want to raise as much money as we can," Corlew said. "The issues of the returning veterans and suicide obviously takes first place. It was something that Charlie and I had discussed before he had passed away. He was so concerned about the enormous amount of life lost after combat. One of the figures that we deal with every day is that with all these veterans that went to combat over 9-11, now there's, there's been more veterans lost to suicide now than were lost in 9-11 or in combat."
Chris Young, whose sister served in the Marines and is a previous recipient of the Patriot Award, will perform. The War Hippies – comprised of veterans Scooter Brown and Donnie Reis -- will open the evening. Special guest speakers will include former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, decorated military veteran and Benghazi survivor Mark "Oz" Geist and Col. Jay Powers, former Commanding Officer, 5th Group (U.S. Army Green Beret). SiriusXM's Storme Warren will host the event.
The dinner ceremony will also include a silent and live auction. Daniels' wife Hazel and son Charlie Daniels, Jr. will attend.
"As the world continues to change and evolve, we as a community must not forget the men and women who have sacrificed so much in the past decades, as well as our future warriors and their families," Corlew said. "The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project exists to honor and to provide much-needed support in their time of transition."
Honorees at this year's dinner include 97-year-old WWII Navy vet Mathias Gutman and 99-year-old WWII Coast Guard vet Gladys Hughes.
Gutman joined the U.S. Navy shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He became a coxswain on LST 553, delivering men and equipment under fire on several amphibious landings. He was part of six island invasions in the Pacific and battled Japanese forces.
Hughes felt the call of duty and left college as a junior to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard during WWII, serving as an HA1C medic. Now she enjoys beauty pageants and is 2nd runner-up in the 2012 Ms. Veteran America competition, which works to promote issues of homeless female veterans.
"We have so many distinguished guests, stories, and above all, the presentation of our three award recipients who most represent patriotism, commitment and giving back in this critical time," Corlew said. "Our live auction will feature two of our most honored guests, Mathias Gutman and Gladys Hughes, as we auction a guitar signed by ten Medal of Honor recipients in order to complete a project of erecting a statue that will honor the men and women of World War II and Vietnam."
This year's Patriot Award honorees will be revealed during the evening ceremony. The award is based on the organization's mission, which is to support veterans in their return, rehabilitation, and reintegration into civilian life. The award honors a person, persons, or group that fulfills and exemplifies the efforts and dedication of TCDJHP's purpose to care continuously, support and encourage the men, women, and families who have served the United States. Previous recipients include Young, Darryl Worley, Mike Huckabee, Jude Seale, William Horton, Donnie Mingus, The Shepherd's Center and more.
For tickets, contact Jill Yochim: 615-906-2454 / TJHpatriotsawards@gmail.com.