Patriot Award Goes To MTSU's Daniels Center

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MTSU's Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center recently received the Patriot Award from The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project during the third annual Charlie Daniels Patriot Award Dinner at City Winery in Nashville, Tennessee.

The 2021 Patriot Award was presented by MTSU alumnus, retired Maj. Gen. Terry "Max" Haston, former Tennessee adjutant general and current Journey Home Project board member. Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith M. Huber, MTSU's senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, accepted the award.

Before his passing in 2020, Charlie Daniels and David Corlew, Daniels' longtime manager and Journey Home Project co-founder, handpicked this year's Patriot Award recipients.

The criteria for the award is based on the mission of the organization: to support veterans in their return, rehabilitation and reintegration back into civilian life. The award honors a person, persons or group that fulfills and exemplifies the efforts and dedication of the Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project's purpose to continuously care, support and encourage the men, women and families who have served the nation.

In receiving the award at the late October event, Huber said MTSU and the Daniels Center "are honored to accept this Patriot Award. When I presented on bended knee the American flag that draped Charlie's casket to Mrs. Hazel, I made a promise the Daniels Center would uphold Charlie's legacy to assist veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life."

In reflecting on the recognition, Hilary Miller, Daniels Center director, said "we are thankful for our relationship with The Journey Home Project. They have been with us from the beginning, providing financial assistance, connections to resources, guidance -- all of which have allowed us to assist military-affiliated individuals and families. That is the award we receive daily. And we are very thankful."

Other 2021 Patriot Award winners included country music singer Darryl Worley, decorated U.S. Marine veteran Mark "Oz" Geist and firearms manufacturers Marty and Cindy Daniel of Daniel Defense. All proceeds benefited Daniels' Journey Home Project.

MTSU alumnus and country music entertainer Chris Young, a 2018 Patriot Award winner who has a passion for veterans and active-duty military personnel, performed. He is a Grand Ole Opry member, multi-platinum album artist and has 12 career No. 1 singles.

"The Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans Center is the culmination of a vision, hard work, fundraising and a commitment from the MTSU team to make life better for our returning veterans and their families," Corlew said. "The Daniels Center was a career highlight for Charlie and the Journey Home team. The center represents all that the Charlie Daniels Patriot Award stands for; it was a proud night for all."

The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project has partnered with MTSU's Daniels Center since 2015, providing funds to assist with the center's needs.

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