KNOXVILLE - A self-described work-at-home writer's open apology to Dolly Parton is generating plenty of attention online.
Knoxville's Amy Rawe published the letter on Thursday to say sorry and thank Dolly Parton as recovery efforts continue after the Sevier County wildfires.
Rawe, 47, admitted she originally thought Parton’s “big boobs, teased hair, tiny waste and syrupy-sweet southern accent” was “just to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer.”
In the post, she thanked Parton for making a positive impact upon East Tennessee in establishing the “My People Fund,” the Imagination Library and Dollywood.
“What finally brings me to this apology is how I’ve seen you respond to the devastating wildfires that swept through your hometown communities of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg,” Rawe wrote. “You made a public statement saying that you were heartbroken, while also expressing deep gratitude to the firefighters who protected Dollywood and evacuated everyone staying there to safety. This is the place I dismissed, but now know is the largest employer in Sevier County.”
Dollywood is one of the largest tourist attractions in Tennessee, and hosts millions of guests each year.
“East Tennessee will count on that tourism to rebuild,” Rawe wrote.
As an Indiana native, Rawe admits she didn’t “get” Parton and the South before moving here.
She credited the Imagination Library for beginning to change her perception of Parton. Rawe’s daughter received books from the Imagination Library in the mail.
“With the humble generosity and graciousness I’m learning is signature Dolly Parton, you’re not only planning a telethon to raise funds for the fire victims, but you’ve also created the My People Fund to provide, as you say, a ‘hand up to all those families who have lost everything in the fires.’” Rawe wrote.
Rawe told WBIR 10News Friday that she wrote the post to "apologize for not knowing sooner how amazing she is."
"The more that I learned about her, I just became a fan, a really big fan," Rawe said.
In the 24 hours since she published the post, Rawe said is has been met with an "outpouring of love for Dolly" online and more stories about things Parton has done.
"People love her, absolutely love her. And those who didn't know that about her do now, and are glad to know that," Rawe said.
Parton and a number of country artists will hold a “Smoky Mountains Rise” telethon on Tuesday to help people who lost their homes during the Sevier County fire.
Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, Big & Rich, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, LOCASH, Chris Janson and Montgomery Gentry will all perform during the nationally-broadcast three-hour telethon. WBIR will stream the event on WBIR.com, the WBIR Facebook page, 10News2, and Fox43.
Parton’s “My People Fund” has already secured more than $1 million as of Dec. 2. The fund will provide $1,000 a month families who lost their homes in the Sevier County fires for up to six months.
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