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Charlie Daniels’ nonprofit donates $50K to MTSU veterans center

NASHVILLE — The Journey Home Project, co-founded by country music legend Charlie Daniels, has committed $50,000 to help equip the new Veterans and Military Family Center at Middle Tennessee State University set to open Nov. 5.

The contribution comes from funds raised at the 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam, which took place Aug. 12 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Charlie Daniels

Charlie Daniels

Daniels and his longtime manager, David Corlew, co-founded The Journey Home Project as a nonprofit organization to assist other not-for-profits to secure funds to benefit veterans.

“Charlie and all of the board of The Journey Home Project are excited about our new partnership with MTSU and the veterans at this incredible university,” Corlew said.

“This center will be the resource that will enable young men and women returning home from their service to transition, along with their families, into their lives as civilians.”

Daniels said, “We are anxious to see this center in action, a place where the many needs of our veterans can be dealt with by capable people who care.”

Keith M. Huber

Keith M. Huber

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

“Charlie Daniels is a great friend of our university and an inspiration to us all for his commitment to our veterans,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee.

“This support by The Journey Home Project will help us improve the lives of our student-veterans and their precious families.”

The 2,600-square-foot center, located on the first floor of Keathley University Center, will be “the largest and most comprehensive post-secondary center for veterans in Tennessee,” said retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU’s senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives.

“It will address a number of student needs, including financial aid, navigating veterans benefits and academic advising,” Huber added.

A graphic artist’s rendering of how space will be utilized in the 2,600-square-foot MTSU Veterans and Military Family Center on the first floor of Keathley University Center. (MTSU graphic by Creative and Visual Services)

A graphic artist’s rendering of how space will be utilized in the 2,600-square-foot MTSU Veterans and Military Family Center on the first floor of Keathley University Center. (MTSU graphic by Creative and Visual Services)

The center will have distinctive space for discussions, study sessions and will be staffed by fellow student veterans, who will serve as peer advisers and sponsors, according to Huber. There will also be a conference room for video teleconferencing and employer job interviews.

The university named Dr. Hilary Miller, a military spouse and family member, as center director earlier this summer. She will lead an experienced staff alongside U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employees Heather Conrad with VetSuccess on Campus and Veteran Affairs Coordinator Ray Howell.US flags

Huber also noted that a VA mental health counselor will also be in-house to help veteran students and their families cope with post-war traumas, such as post-traumatic stress disorders.

“The new center will encourage and facilitate the success of our veterans as they transition out of uniform into academics, and then into future employment opportunities, as they strive to become leaders in the community much like they were in uniform. It will also help to answer all of their questions and give them a place to go where they’re talking to people with a commonality of background, purpose and focus,” Huber said.

MT Veterans Salute logoDaniels has had close ties to MTSU for decades.

In 1975, the second Volunteer Jam was held at MTSU’s Murphy Center, and in 2009, the university presented him with the Joe M. Rodgers Spirit of America Award, an honor presented to a businessperson who has demonstrated the best of the spirit of America through significant contributions in government, education, and/or civic and charitable organizations.

McPhee surprised Daniels in 2013 with a presentation on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry that formally announced the Charlie Daniels Scholarship at the university. It was created in the singer’s honor through a $25,000 endowment from the International Entertainment Buyers Association.

For more information on the Veterans and Families Center at MTSU, please visit www.mtsu.edu/military.

For more information about The Journal Home Project, visit www.thejourneyhomeproject.org.

From left, Pam Matthews, executive director of the International Entertainment Buyers Association, Charlie Daniels, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, and MTSU Recording Industry major Jordan Todd at a 2013 appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. McPhee surprised Daniels with a presentation that formally announced the Charlie Daniels Scholarship at the Murfreesboro university. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

From left, Pam Matthews, executive director of the International Entertainment Buyers Association, Charlie Daniels, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, and MTSU Recording Industry major Jordan Todd at a 2013 appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. McPhee surprised Daniels with a presentation that formally announced the Charlie Daniels Scholarship at the Murfreesboro university. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

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