PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (March 19, 2019)- The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund continues to provide for the local community with Dolly Parton most recently presenting $200,000 to the fire chiefs of the eight volunteer fire departments located in Sevier County.
The money, which Parton donated on Saturday, will be used to support the volunteer fire departments in multiple ways. Each department receives $20,000 of the money for needed resources and equipment. The final $40,000 will go toward the construction of a new classroom at the countywide training center.
After the pivotal role the departments played in fighting the 2016 wildfires, Parton said the donation only made sense at this time.
“It’s only fitting that the last of the My People Fund will go to those who were the first to respond to the fires,” Parton said on Saturday.
Tim Baker, Chief of Waldens Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Sevier County Fire Chiefs Association President, said the money comes at a crucial time for both his department and the training center. The new classroom at the training center will be used by all county fire departments and local law enforcement.
“We are so thankful for this donation to all of the fire departments and for our training center,” Baker said. “The Waldens Creek VFD will use part of the money to purchase gear and part of the money to replace the roof on the station.
“We needed about $40,000 to meet our goal for the classroom and now we have it,” he continued. “This is fantastic.”
The Dollywood Foundation established the My People Fund just 48 hours after the 2016 wildfires. The Fund provided $1000 each month for five months to Sevier County families whose primary residences were destroyed in the fires. During the sixth month, a $5000 check was provided to each family.