Rascal Flatts have been supporting the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt for more than 16 years, calling it one of the accomplishments they are most proud of over their two decades in country music. The trio, made up of Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney, hosted their Celebrity Golf Classic on Monday, Oct. 15, with stars like Tracy Lawrence, LOCASH, Vince Gill, Joe Diffie, Mitchell Tenpenny, ice skater Scott Hamilton on hand, among others, to help raise money for the worthwhile cause.
"It's something that we've done for a long time," LeVox told PopCulture.com. "We've been partners with the hospital for like 16 years, and it's just the greatest thing that we do with the platform that we've been blessed with. So, to be able to bless these children financially and everything, and everybody in this town has stepped up and come. All of our artist friends, and celebrities, and athletes, and everybody comes. We've already raised more money, every year we've raised more money for the hospital.
"So, this year's no different, and we're just so grateful to be able to touch those kids over there," he continued. "The doctors are amazing, the facility is incredible. Just anything we can do, we feel like it's our responsibility. And we get to come out and have a great day of golf here at the Golf Club of Tennessee, and the kids win at the end of it."
When Rascal Flatts decided to support Monroe Carrell Jr. Children's Hospital, they never imagined that their charitable efforts would result in almost six million dollars raised, which helped create, among other things, a surgery center named in their honor.
"We just kind of wanted to do something," DeMarcus said. "We always said that at the beginning, if we ever had enough success to be able to give back to something, a worthy cause, we wanted to be able to do that. And immediately, the first option was right here in our own backyard with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. We've often joked about all of this noise has been made about what we've been able to do and the Rascal Flatts Surgery Center, and it's wonderful and it makes you feel good. But you get all of these accolades for something that you should do.
"If you're blessed enough to have a platform, and have success, to be able to give back, you should," he added. "We've always believed that. And we never dreamed that it would be this many years into the future that we'd still be doing this, and having this kind of impact on the hospital. But they've done as much for us, as we've ever been able to do for them."
Rascal Flatts have had numerous chart-topping hits, sold millions of albums, and earned more than a dozen major awards, but their contributions to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital is the achievement they hope to be remembered by, even above their music careers.
"It's beyond special," Rooney boasted. "We've far out exceeded our dreams years ago. We wanted this; we wanted to move to Nashville, had big ambitions and dreams. I met these guys in Nashville when they were already doing a duo thing, and they made me a part of this. And I feel so blessed to be a part of this. Blessed me in so many ways. But to give back is the thing that's the most amazing thing. Like Gary said, to be on a platform be able to give back in any way is special, but what we'll be able to do is pretty mind-blowing."
Photo Credit: Getty / Bob Levey