Dolly Parton presented with first ever Excellence in Leadership Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - - Living legend Dolly Parton was presented with the first-ever Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award Saturday night at the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

Parton was given the award for her selfless work to improve lives across Tennessee. 

“My dream was to make as many people happy as I could in this life, and I am grateful to Leadership Tennessee and First Lady Crissy Haslam for recognizing our work done to improve the lives of all Tennesseans,” Parton said. “Even more humbling is for decades to come the future leaders of Tennessee will receive an award with the Parton family name attached to it, and for that I am truly honored and thankful.” - Dolly Parton 

Parton's contributions have spread across generations in Tennessee, her most recent being her Emmy-winning "Smoky Mountains Rise" telethon that raised more than $12.5 million for the victims of the Smoky Mountain wildfires back in 2016. 

In addition to her well known and loved music, Parton's Imagination Library provides free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school regardless of family income. Since its conception in 1995, more than 100 million books have been mailed to children across five different countries. 

The Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award marked the culmination of a year celebrating Leadership Tennessee's fifth anniversary. 

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