The T.J. Martell Foundation raised $500,000 to benefit leukemia, cancer and AIDS research at last night’s (Monday, Feb. 29) 8th annual Nashville Honors Gala, for a total of nearly $3 million raised since 2009.
Hosted by Charles Esten, the gala brought an array of outstanding performances and tributes to recognize the efforts of dedicated individuals who have provided inspiring leadership to our community.
Honorees were treated to performances by Esten, Don Henley, Ronnie Milsap, Joe Walsh, Jackie Wilson and Chris Young and special presentations were made by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Hal Moses, Ph.D. and industry executive Scott Borchetta.
This year’s honorees included Aubrey Harwell, Co-Founding Partner of Neal and Harwell receiving the Spirit of Nashville Award, while Brian Philips, President of CMT, received the Frances Preston Outstanding Music Industry Achievement Award. Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, received the Medical Research Advancement Award, and Grammy award-winning Kenny Rogers received the Tony Martell Lifetime Entertainment Achievement Award. Fred W. Smith, founder, chairman, president, and CEO of Fedex Corporation, was also in attendance to accept the Outstanding Global Citizenship Award on behalf of more than 350,000 team members around the world.
Honoring Aubrey Harwell, highlights included Milsap’s performance of Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” before peforming his hit, “Smoky Mountain Rain,” one of Tennessee’s state songs, both which greatly pleased the enthusiastic crowd.
Young delivered an acoustic version of his hit “Voices” to honor Dr. Pietenpol while Walsh honored Brian Philips with “A Life of Illusion,” a favorite song of Brian’s children. Rounding out the performances, Henley performed the first song he ever wrote with the late Glenn Frey, “Desperado” to honor Kenny Rogers. The rendition brought everyone to a standing ovation.
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