Songwriters Sing For The Homeless

(L-R): Don Schlitz, Pat Alger

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame members Pat Alger and Don Schlitz have volunteered to provide musical benediction at the grand re-opening of the downtown medical clinic on Friday morning.

Operated by United Neighborhood Health Services, the clinic provides medical, dental and counseling to Nashville’s homeless population. UNHS CEO Mary Bufwack, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Rep. Jim Cooper, UNHS Medical Director Dr. Keith Junior and UNHS Director of Homeless Services Bill Friskics-Warren will preside at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Pat Alger was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010. He has written songs for Brenda Lee, Hal Ketchum, Trisha Yearwood, Kathy Mattea, The Everly Brothers, Dolly Parton, Don Williams, Tanya Tucker, Nanci Griffith and others. Among his hits are “Small Town Saturday Night,” “Goin’ Gone” and “Like We Never Had a Broken Heart.” Alger has co-written four of Garth Brooks’s biggest hits, including “The Thunder Rolls” and “Unanswered Prayers.”

Don Schlitz, a 1993 inductee into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, is the only person named ASCAP Songwriter of the Year four consecutive times (1988-91). He is also the only songwriter to have won three CMA Song of the Year awards. His dozens of hits include “Strong Enough to Bend,” “When You Say Nothing at All,” “Forty Hour Week,” “Give Me Wings,” “Rockin’ with the Rhythm of the Rain” and “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her.” Schlitz has two Grammy Awards for writing Country Song of the Year winners “The Gambler” and “Forever and Ever, Amen.”

United Neighborhood Health Services is a non-profit network of health centers that has served Nashville for more than 30 years. It operates nine neighborhood clinics, five school clinics, two mobile health units and a clinic in Hartsville, TN, as well as the downtown homeless clinic. UNHS serves approximately 32,000 patients, about half of whom have no health insurance.

The clinic’s renovation was funded by $450,000 from the Federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and $50,000 from the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA). The ceremony will take place on the clinic’s courtyard at 526 8th Ave. S. on Friday, May 20, beginning at 10 a.m. The public is welcome.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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