“This Country Cares”

So about a month ago I had this idea.
(All exhausting stories begin that way, by the way.)
I had just seen the Public Service Announcements that Blue Star Families did with The Creative Coalition, TAPS and Healthnet to address the tragic military suicide issue and I was inspired. In case you don’t already know, 18 veterans attempt suicide every day and every 36 hours one of them succeeds. Last year we lost more troops to suicide than to combat.
I thought hen tthat if Hollywood stars could effectively appeal to service members and their families, so could country music singers. At that moment I was standing in the Red Cross Headquarters, a beautiful, historic building around the corner from The White House, in a room filled with Hollywood celebrities and military officials. As I looked around at them I realized that I was probably the only native Nashvillian in the room and if the country music PSAs were going to happen, it would likely fall to me to get it going.
“That sounds like a lot of work,” is what my ego told my id right then, and so I swept the thought out of my mind as being something too difficult for someone like me to pull off and I walked back over to the drink table and picked up another glass of chardonnay. That’s when the id spoke up again, this time in the form of the Keni Thomas song, “Not Me.”

It’s a beautiful song and it includes the refrain, “The world becomes a better place when someone stands and leads the way, steps forward when they’d rather say not me.”
Fast forward a very fast, very busy month, and I spent last weekend in Nashville with a team of amazing volunteers from Blue Star Families and the Nashville Film Institute, and a talented stylist and make-up artist, as we wore ourselves out filming 46 country singers reading our “This Country Cares” script during the CMA Music Festival.
I’m still pinching myself.
I can’t believe it actually came together, and it is very far from over. We received such a phenomenal response in Nashville. Everyone was so warm, welcoming and supportive and even the artists who weren’t able to film with us told us that they still wanted to participate but they’d gotten such short notice from us that their schedules were already booked. So it looks like we’ll be going back to Nashville in a few weeks to do some more filming.
Here are a few pics from the weekend. Stay tuned, there is much more to come.