Jake Owen already has several awards and accolades, but his latest one is likely the most meaningful. The "Down to the Honkytonk" singer received the prestigious Randy Owen Angels Among Us Award, in honor of his numerous charitable contributions to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, including golf tournaments and concerts held in his native Florida.
"I feel like that’s our duty as a country music entertainer," Owen said humbly after receiving the honor. "It’s not just singing songs for people and entertaining. It’s what we do with the platform that we’ve so luckily been given, honestly. I say ‘given’ — we’ve worked for the platform. But I think there’s more to what we do than just singing songs.
"How do you help people?" he continued. "How do you give back? I know that by being an example and being a leader in that, hopefully others will follow. That’s what I was taught by guys like Randy, and so many others that have come before me."
The Alabama frontman also had high praise for Owen and his work at St. Jude.
"Jake's actually put a lot of time into this," Randy said. "Day after day, show after show. It's going to take people like Jake, because I won't be with you all [forever.]"
"I’ve always believed that country music is songs for the family, songs for the people," Owen explained. "Common folk. And I believe that it just goes hand in hand with the mission for St. Jude, as far as lending a helping hand. I think you hear those types of sentiments in a lot of country songs. I think they’re just relatable."
St. Jude treats children battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, without ever sending families a bill. They also offer families housing and food, free of charge, and work tirelessly to find a cancer cure.
"I just love the fact that they’re presenting a place for families to come and not have to worry anymore," Owen explained. "They can find help here. There are so many families out that don’t know what to do, they don’t know how to get answers. They don’t have the money. To be able to come to a place like this, be taken care of, be informed — I don’t find there’s anything else that’s as valuable as St. Jude."
Owen received the award in Memphis, as part of the annual Country Cares for St. Jude Kids. To date the event, started by Randy in 1989, has raised more than $800 million for St. Jude. To find out more, or to make a donation, visit their website.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of St. Jude