Charlie Daniels Explains Why Supporting Veterans Is His Life Mission

Charlie Daniels just raised more than $150,000 for one of the causes he is most passionate about, supporting the veterans. The Country Music Hall of Fame member just hosted his second annual Veteran Impact Celebration, with the proceeds going to MTSU's (Middle Tennessee State University) Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center.

"It is a place for veterans to come and for one thing, to just get together and be with like-minded folks that've been through the same thing," Daniels told of raising money for the worthwhile cause. "They've been to Afghanistan and been to Iraq and been to whatever the pressures of wars or the pressures of just being in service in general are. There's job placement, there's teleconferencing, there is health care available, if they need it.

"Just try to do whatever the veterans need," he added. "There's a pretty good size veteran population, veteran student population here and we're just trying to help them transition back into civilian life."

The money was presented through Daniels' own Journey Home Project, which the country music icon began to help veterans all over the country with whatever their varied needs might be.

"There's some pretty unique problems involved," Daniels explained. "Government agencies are not all that comprehensive. I mean, in so far as, if it ain't written on the page, they can't do it. And there's a lot of gaps that needs to be filled in. People need help that they're just not getting from [Veterans Affairs], or anybody else for that matter, and we try to help. We've done some very mundane things. We've bought a guy a bicycle to ride to work one time. We've bought furniture. We've helped people get medical care. We've done all kinds of stuff, just whatever it takes."

Daniels is proud to be part of the Daniels Center, allowing him even more opportunity to help those serving in the military and those with needs when they return.

"We're an extension of it more so than it being an extension of us because it's bigger than we are," said the singer. "The center is bigger than our organization is. But we support it. One of our main things is we support other groups that are doing things that we believe need to be done for veterans. The reason we started the Journey Home Project is, we've been donating money to veterans causes for a long time.

"We've been doing benefits and that sort of thing for a good while," he continued, "but the money didn't always go to what we felt like was the neediest thing, the thing that needed attention more so than anything else. So we decided we would do our own foundation and we would be able to put our money to work where we wanted it to go."

One of the reasons Daniels decided to start his own non-profit is because of his passion for combating veteran suicide, which he says is far too prevalent.

"22 veterans commit suicide every day," Daniels said. "That's a hard thought but it's a actual hard cold fact, maybe more than that. "If you talk to government agencies they won't tell you that. They will not tell you there's 22; they'll say there's less than that. There's certain suicides that they don't count. But counting it all, putting it all together, the drug overdoses and all that kind of thing, it's 22 a day.

"It's such a waste of life, and you got to think why," remarked the 82-year-old. "Why it is this happening? There's a lot of people out there and they are trying to find out what's happening, what's causing this and what to do about it, and so we're very supportive of them, but anything to help our veterans."


To donate to the Journey Home Project, visit the organization's website.

Photo Credit: Getty images / Gary Gershoff