What a real hero looks like (an encore performance)

Two years ago I wrote about the latest act of heroism from Dolly Parton. Last night, we watched a host of popular, rock and country singers honor her as one of the latest inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From Pink to Brandi Carlisle to Sheryl Crow to Zac Brown to Pat Benatar, we saw a loving and admiring tribute to this talented woman. She also played a new rock and roll song she wrote for the occasion, “Rocking til the cows come home.” It was pretty good. Yet, she might be remembered more for her humanity.

I have written before about this hero primarily for her book gifting program for young kids, which is now an international program called “Imagination Library” (see second link below). Her name is Dolly Parton. I heard she could write songs and sing, as well. Yet, Parton just received some new acclaim for helping fight COVID-19.

In an article in The Hill by Judy Kurtz (see first link below) called “Dolly Parton among donors behind Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine,” her efforts are revealed. Here are a few paragraphs from the article.

“Dolly Parton can add another achievement to her résumé: helping to fund research for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.

The ‘9 to 5’ singer was one of several donors listed Monday as part of the announcement that Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate was 94.5 percent effective in an interim analysis. The ‘Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund’ was named as a supporter in the footnotes of a New England Journal of Medicine report.

Parton, 74, announced back in April that she was giving $1 million to researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center toward finding a vaccine to fight against COVID-19.

In an April Instagram post announcing her contribution, the Grammy Award winner said she was donating in honor of her longtime friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, a researcher at Vanderbilt who informed her ‘that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure.'”

Parton will be remembered many years from now for her Imagination Library where 147 million books have been provided to young children. Currently, there are 1.7 million children signed up for the program. Yet, seeing her do things like the vaccine funding adds to her legacy.

Seeing her interviewed on multiple occasions, the depth of her kindness, integrity, and approachability is heart warming. Her ability to laugh at herself (both the stage personality and at home one) reveals a very smart woman that disarms people. She does not need to solicit attention for her good deeds, it just spreads.

Well done, Ms. Parton. You are a credit to the human race. Thank you for your music and big heart.




14 thoughts on “What a real hero looks like (an encore performance)

  1. I became aware of Dolly Parton when I was 12 years old. At that time, she sang the duet with Kenny Rogers “Islands in the Stream”. I admired her since, for a lot of reasons. Her latest donation and support are only one more thing to add.

  2. I’ve been a fan since Jolene (at least because I’m older now and I remember that one distinctly – loved it! SHe’s done a LOT of good things int eh world – she gives generously to literacy programs and health concerns and environmental issues (Smokey Mountains). Thanks Keith)

  3. Note to Readers: Two comments. 1) Barbara Walters noted Dolly Parton was her most surprisingly favorite interview. She said Parton was a smart and kind person. 2) More than one person has noted that Parton is very savvy in controlling her image and her self-deprecating style. Her famous line is “It takes a lot of money to look this trashy.” Keith

  4. I admire Dolly Parton greatly! She is a true humanitarian. Another feather in her cap is her free college program. Employees of Dollywood, even seasonal and part-time employees, are eligible for fee college tuition from their first day of employment! Yep, a true humanitarian indeed. I’ve linked my ‘good people’ post to this one — hope you don’t mind.

  5. Pingback: Good People Doing Good Things — A Mix | Filosofa's Word

  6. Thank you Keith for the insight into a woman who by all this evidence can be truly termed ‘Lady’ (elevation in rank in British Society- unofficial use- old fashioned term of respect).
    Joelene never grows old – and apparently based on an incident in Dolly Parton’s own life..is that correct?

      • How true Keith. One entertaining benefit of songs is reading all the origin stories of one song.
        One of my favourites is concerning the flower-power classic ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ by Iron Butterfly, keyboard and vocalist Doug Ingle had spent all night (with the aid of wine, and who knows what else) writing ‘In The Garden of Eden’. Stumbling into the light of day he bumped in Ron Bushy drummer who asked what song he has been working on. Deprived of sleep and still feeling the effects of wine Ingle mumbled out the title; Bushy short of temper demanded he say it again, Ingle intimidated tried, Bushy listened ‘grumped’ back ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida? Yeah cool title man,’ and went on his way. Ingle said he was too frightened to correct Bushy and it stuck.
        I don’t know how true that was, but it’s a great tale.
        Best wishes for Thanksgiving.

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