Dolly Parton and her Smoky Mountain businesses have raised $700,000 to help residents impacted by the catastrophic flooding in Middle Tennessee. According to a Wednesday (Oct. 6) news release, Parton chose United Way of Humphreys County to receive and distribute the donation at the suggestion of her friend and fellow country music legend Loretta Lynn.
A foreman at Lynn’s ranch was among those who died in the flood.
Parton says she was compelled to help out after the support the Smokies received following the 2016 Sevier County wildfires. “After the Sevier County wildfires in 2016, Loretta was one of the first who reached out to offer anything she could,” Parton said in a statement. “It meant so much to me that Loretta — and so many folks — were ready to give in any way they could. This was just one small way I could help Loretta’s people for all they did to help my people. I hope that this money can be put to good use to help the people of Middle Tennessee with what they need during their recovery.”
During the Aug. 21 flood, more than 500 homes and 50 businesses were damaged after up to 17 inches (43 centimeters) of rain fell in less than 24 hours over the weekend in the rural community.
According to Parton, the flood relief funds were raised by donating a portion of ticket sales from Dollywood and her Pigeon Forge dinner show properties — Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show and Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud — during the Oct. 2-3 weekend.