Charlie Daniels was in complete shock at his 80th Birthday Volunteer Jam Wednesday (Nov.30) when country music icon Randy Travis took the stage. Following Daniels performance of “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” Travis crossed the stage of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena to present “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” singer with the coveted honor of “Rare Country Humanitarian of the Year Award.”
“What in the heck is goin’ on?!” Daniels yelled into the microphone as Travis appeared onstage beside him. Assisted by his wife Mary, Travis embraced Daniels for a meaningful hug before the big announcement was made. Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber joined Travis in presenting Daniels with the humanitarian award.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the announcer. “I don’t think you understand how big of a deal it is to have Randy Travis walk on this stage.”
After nearly losing his life to a devastating stroke back in 2013, Travis is making his way back into the country scene. Travis joined Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley at the 2016 CMA Awards for a performance of his cherished classic, “Forever and Ever, Amen,” even closing out the song singing the final word, “amen.” His tremendous road to recovery is a true miracle considering the state he was in just three years ago.
“They really said there was no hope; go ahead and pull the plug,” shared wife Mary in early March at his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. “I went to his bedside and I said, ‘Baby, you’ve got to give me some more fight.’ And I knew that he had had a little talk with Jesus, because he squeezed my hand, and a little tear fell down,” she continues, choking back tears herself. “And I knew that he wasn’t through yet…He’s a wonderful man; he’s a wonderful husband,” she adds. “I’m blessed beyond measure to get to walk beside him.”
Daniels received the award “in recognition of [his] enormous contributions to our veterans and their precious military families.” Daniels and his manager David Corlew founded the Journey Home Project, a non-profit organization, aiming to assist veterans in their transition home from war.
“This has been an incredible year,” said Daniels to the crowd. “I was so surprised when [Travis] came walking out here. This is one of the strongest, most courageous men that I know. And I can tell you, he’s getting better yet, and he’ll sing again!”
While Travis has mainly shied away from the stage in favor of focusing on his recovery, it’s good to see such an amazing man return to the stage.