This interview with country music legend Charlie Daniels was a true highlight in my career. I remember as a young boy watching “Hee Haw” and “The Barbara Mandrell Show,” and seeing Johnny Cash, Alabama and other country stars and groups on TV. But there was one band and one song that I just loved seeing on TV and hearing on the radio in 1979 — “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
I remember thinking how scary and cool at the same time it would be to challenge the devil in a fiddle contest. And I also clearly remember how cool it was that the song had a bad word in it! Charlie Daniels won a Grammy in 1979 for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and the following year, the song became a major crossover success on rock radio stations.
Daniels, at the young age of 82, is still going strong as part of the Charlie Daniels’ Band, which continues to tour the country. Their recent release, “Land That I Love,” is a patriotic compilation including “Iraq Blues” and “What This World Needs is a Few More Rednecks.”
From his Dove Award-winning gospel albums to his genre-defining southern rock anthems and his CMA Award-winning country hits, few artists have left a more of a mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. Over the course of his career, Daniels has received numerous accolades, including his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
And he’s leveraged his success to support military and veteran families.
What some may or may not know is that Mr. Daniels considers one of his greatest achievements being a lifelong patriot.
He was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service award for his support of military personnel and as well as the AmVet Silver Helmet award, an annual award that recognizes various patriotic achievements and presented by the AmVets, an organization formed by World War II veterans.
In 2014, Mr. Daniels, along with his manager David Corlew, founded The Journey Home Project, which supports our veteran families in areas of education, medical care, transportation and various other needs.
The Journey Home Project (TJHP) recently partnered with the Rich Poverty Organization to assemble a new art exhibit at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, titled The Alliance Collection, is a gallery of combat and civilian photographs taken by veterans and their families. The collection is now on display for public viewing.
Bottom line: How are you using your platform to positively influence others? Mr. Daniels is using his success to create opportunities and pathways for those who have served so that others can carry on what makes this country so great: service to others.
To listen to the full interview, visit The Military Wire podcast.
Edmonds resident Mike Schindler is the founder and chief executive officer of Operation Military Family Cares –– a 501(c)(3) veteran service organization and technology provider that combats veteran homelessness, while working to strengthen relationships and equip communities and families for success.