Founder Charlie Daniels humbled by generous check
"And I learned early in my life that only two things protect America, the grace of Almighty God and the United States military," legendary Mt. Juliet country music artist Charlie Daniels said this week. "It was that way then, it is that way now, and will forever be that way as long as America remains a free and sovereign nation."
Dr. David Snodgrass, who has shares the practice SnodgrassKing Pediatric Dental Associates of Middle Tennessee with partner Dr. William King, served in the military eight years during the Vietnam era. They have five area dental offices, and one in south Mt. Juliet.
On Tuesday, in a very intimate setting with just close associates present, Snodgrass presented Daniels with a check for $10,000 - earmarked for Daniels' The Journey Home Project he founded in 2014.
"What you do really means a lot to me personally," Snodgrass said in a room within the large dental practice that was closed at the time of the presentation. "You have always been a patriot."
The Journey Home Project is a local non-profit organization Daniels started to help assist the United State's post-9/11 veterans and their families to transition back to civilian life.
"It's to raise awareness of the sacrifice these veterans have made, and to motivate local communities to rally behind these young men and women as they strive to reach their maximum potential," Daniels said.
Tuesday's donation to Daniels was the last part of SnodgrassKing's salute to "military heroes," and falls on the heels of the practice's Halloween Candy Buy-Back program. In October, they collected more than 3,300 pounds of candy from local schools to send to the troops overseas. It was an effort to get an over abundance of candy out of the hands of children, and to provide a nice treat to soldiers.
The "contest" to collect candy had incentives and SnodgrassKing, in turn, gave $5,750 to local schools, as well as organized the effort to disperse candy as treats to soldiers overseas.
"I'm so happy for this check to go to your organization," Snodgrass told Daniels Tuesday.
The music legend said The Journey Home Project "really helps vets who come back from service.
"Some have such a hard time transitioning to civilian life," he said. "The contribution will go a long way, and I really hope this generous gesture inspires others to help our wounded warriors."
And while Daniels and his team personally handed the "real" check to Daniels when they sat in a waiting room at the office, a huge replica check was also presented and was displayed as Daniels and Snodgrass talked quietly about The Journey Home Project and how far the large donation will go toward progressing the program's efforts.
"I feel sometimes we don't do enough for those who volunteer to protect our freedoms and put their lives on the line everyday," Daniels said. "I remember back to Pearl Harbor. Those patriots had at least a little time to transition before they came back to the states. Today, our veterans are dodging bullets one second and the next day walk off a plane here. It's very difficult, and the suicide rate of our returning soldiers is overwhelming. It's up to us to address their needs."
Snodgrass said he was happy to make the donation and noted he hoped to do the same next year, "for even more."
Daniels said the mission of The Journey Home Project, in a nutshell, is to help veterans who return from tours of service and address "the tolls of war that are too great to bear alone."
Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at email@example.com.