Dolly Parton surprises wildfire victims with $5,000 check

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Hundreds in Tennessee who were affected by last year’s devastating wildfires have received help from Dolly Parton’s My People Fund.

Thursday, the final checks were given with a special surprise inside: $5,000 instead of the usual $1,000.

My People Fund works to help those in Sevier County who lost their homes in the wildfires.

Steven Johnson said the extra money made all of the difference.

“You come here expecting a $1,000 check and you get a $5,000 dollar check,” said Johnson. “By her doing this, it really shows a lot.”

David Dotson with the Dollywood Foundation says it shows a lot about the community as well.

“We certainly anticipated we would raise the money we need. We obviously jumped off a cliff and Dolly made commitments but honestly, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Dotson.

For many, the extra money means a quicker and easier rebuild of their homes.

“The biggest loss that we had was our personal property stuff so it helps us be in a better situation to replenish furniture and some of the things we weren’t going to be able to replenish for a while,” said Brett Gaff.

Dotson said there is still money left in the My People Fund. Friday, Parton is expected to make an announcement about what she plans to do with the rest of the money.

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