COLD SPRING, Ky., April 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 18, DAV (Disabled American Veterans) participated in the Cracker Barrel OId Country Store Country Checkers Challenge™, alongside twelve country music celebrities and USO (United Service Organizations). The event was held as part of the 3rd Annual ACM Party for a Cause Festival at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Country music star Thomas Rhett led the DAV team, along with country music entertainers Rhett Akins, Dan + Shay, Danielle Bradbery, Scotty McCreery and Cassadee Pope, taking on USO's team led by Kellie Pickler alongside Lauren Alaina, Chase Bryant, Kristian Bush, Love & Theft and Jamie Lynn Spears. The human checkers game was played on a life-sized checkerboard and DAV Lifetime Member, retired Army Sergeant Joe Washam, played on behalf of DAV.
"I was severely injured while deployed in Iraq, with 3rd degree burns over 40% of my body," said Washam. "DAV was crucial in helping me access my VA benefits, which has been such a huge to me and my family. It's been an honor to represent DAV in this event and hopefully inspire other veterans who need help and don't know where to turn."
Through a $35,000 donation from Cracker Barrel, ACM Lifting Lives® made a $10,000 donation to DAV, the beneficiary of Thomas Rhett's second place team. USO received a $25,000 donation as the winning team.
"For many years Cracker Barrel has celebrated the spirit of music through our exclusive music program. The Country Checkers Challenge partnership with the ACM provided us with a great opportunity to recognize two military organizations—the USO and DAV," said Chris Ciavarra, senior vice president of marketing for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. "We are delighted to honor these non-profit organizations through donations to help them continue the great work they do across the nation in support of active and retired military servicemen and women and our disabled veterans."
"This generous donation will help us to continue to provide free support programs and benefits assistance for our heroes who fought for our way of life," said Marc Burgess, DAV National Adjutant. "DAV is excited to have a strong partner with Cracker Barrel. Their commitment to the men and women who serve is unwavering and it's been our pleasure to work with them throughout this event."
DAV is one of the largest and oldest veteran service organizations, with 1.2 million members and 1,300 local chapters, serving all veterans from all eras and their families. In 2014, DAV represented more than 340,000 claims for earned benefits for veterans. To learn more, please visit www.DAV.org.
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America's injured heroes on Capitol Hill; connecting veterans and their families with employment resources and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.
About Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.:
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its old country stores and restaurants. Guests are cared for like family while relaxing and enjoying real home-style food and shopping that's surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America's country heritage…all at a fair price. The restaurant serves up delicious, home-style country food such as meatloaf and homemade chicken n' dumplins as well as its made-from-scratch biscuits using an old family recipe. The authentic old country retail store is fun to shop and offers unique gifts and self-indulgences. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. was established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn. and operates 634 company-owned locations in 42 states. Every Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® location is open seven days a week with hours Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. For more information, visit crackerbarrel.com.
About the Academy of Country Music Awards:
The 50th Academy of Country Music Awards is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry. The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and will broadcast LIVE from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco are executive producers. Bob Romeo is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.
About ACM Lifting Lives®:
ACM Lifting Lives® is the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music dedicated to improving lives through the power of music. Through partnerships with artists and strong ties in the music industry, ACM Lifting Lives develops and funds music-related therapy and education programs, and serves members of the community who face unexpected hardships through its Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund. Through generous donations and the support of artists and fans, ACM Lifting Lives is able to fund everything from disaster relief and helping communities in need, to music education in schools and music camps for those with disabilities, to supporting programs that use music therapy as a means to help our veterans and wounded warriors, while providing grants to help them ease back into life. For more information, please visit www.ACMLiftingLives.org.