The Smoky Mountain Opry Theater in Pigeon Forge donated $100,000 raised during its Christmas Candle Program to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
“Our own little employee family has been greatly helped by the amazing medical care they have received from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and thousands and thousands of children have been helped by the services of this hospital as well,” said Jim Hedrick, co-owner of the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater and senior vice president of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group. “We are able to donate to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital with one hundred percent of the proceeds from our Christmas Candle Program, whereby LED candles are purchased by guests who attend ‘Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry.’ We are really touched and blessed to be able to give to this worthy organization. It is our honor and our pleasure to donate $100,000 to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.”
“I am stunned,” said Keith Goodwin, chief executive officer of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. “We are so blessed, so thankful and so thrilled.” The hospital plans to use the gift to fund their programs and provide assistance to families who are not able to afford services.
“Our company is pleased and honored to be helping East Tennessee Children’s Hospital,” said David Fee, president and chief executive officer of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment. “It is our way of giving back. We wish all children good health. This donation is made possible because of the tremendous support of generous guests who gave to our Christmas Candle Program because they want to help others.”
The Smoky Mountain Opry’s Christmas Candle Program is used to support local charitable causes. At intermission before the live nativity scene during the “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry” show, guests purchase LED souvenir candles “to hold high in honor of Christ.” The candles are held in honor of the spirit of giving at Christmas. One hundred percent of the proceeds from these candles go to the Smoky Mountain Opry Christmas Candle Fund. The Candle Fund has now given over $500,00 to local charities.
Photo: Jim Hedrick, co-owner of the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater, presents a check for $100,000 to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH) executives. Pictured left to right: Michael Headla, general manager of The Smoky Mountain Opry Theater; ETCH’s vice-presidents: Bruce Anderson, former legal services, Hella Ewing, patient care, Cathy Shuck, legal services, Carlton Long, institutional advancement, and presenting the big check is Jim Hedrick, sr. vice president of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment and Keith Goodwin, chief executive officer, ETCH. Surrounded by the Smoky Mountain Opry’s cast, Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear was on stage along with several Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group’s employees including Morris Turner, IT specialist, Danny Davaney, entertainer at The Comedy Barn Theater and three of his children and Judy Caudill, general manager of The Comedy Barn Theater, whose families have a life-time connection with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.