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Dolly donates to fire heroes

Dolly Parton has donated $200,000 to volunteer fire departments in rural Tennessee, who helped battle wildfires in the state in 2016.

The country icon made the gift through her Dollywood Foundation's My People Fund, handing out $20,000 donations to eight volunteer fire departments in her home county of Sevier, and $40,000 to the county's training centre.

According to The Tennessean newspaper, the Jolene singer also met fire chiefs over the weekend.

"It is only fitting that the last of the My People Fund will go to those who were the first to respond to the fires," Parton says in a press release.

She launched the My People Fund for the victims of the wildfires, which claimed the lives of 14 people and destroyed more than 2,500 homes, days after the blaze ravaged huge parts of Tennessee.

Parton also gave back to the families directly affected by the tragedy via her fund, handing out $10,000 to 885 families who lost their homes. She also raised over $9 million by staging a TV telethon.

The country star officially ended the My People Fund in May, 2017 in a press release that read: "The My People Fund has been a great success. I want to thank my team, the Dollywood Foundation, my friends in the music business and the thousands of people from all over the country who opened both their pocketbooks and their hearts to help us.

"Over the last five months, we've given nearly 900 families $5,000 to help them recover. Yesterday, we had our last distribution and I went over to... say thanks to all the volunteers and to help give out a few cheques myself."

But the fund rumbled on as Dolly explained: "We're still receiving money, so we aren't finished yet. Recovery will take some time, so a new organization, called Mountain Tough, has been created to help our people get back on their feet for the next three years. We're giving at least $3 million to help this new organization begin the next chapter of our journey."

Dolly's gift to the fire departments will help volunteers purchase new gear and make station repairs, while training center bosses will put their slice of the cash towards building a new classroom.



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