Rodney Atkins Comes 'Home' For Event
Country music entertainer Rodney Atkins was in Greeneville on Tuesday to help Holston United Methodist Home for Children celebrate its newly renovated main campus.
Atkins, who was adopted at Holston Home when he was a baby, has become a strong supporter of the children's agency since his rise to musical superstardom.
Not only has Atkins provided financial support to Holston Home, but he has also become a major spokesperson for the Greeneville-based agency that serves children who are unable to live with their families.
At his concerts nationwide, Atkins frequently talks about Holston Home and what the agency has meant to his life.
The music superstar also takes time when he is able to visit the campus and meet with the children and young people there.
He was also instrumental in securing a grant from the Academy of Country Music that provided guitars and music lessons to the Holston Home kids.
On Tuesday, Atkins and three members of his band entertained about 70 Holston Home youth and staff during a private concert held in the campus chapel.
During the event, Atkins performed a variety of his hits songs, including "It's America," "These Are My People," "Watching You," and "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows.")
Many of the youths clapped enthusiastically and sang along as Atkins performed during the show. Several even encouraged Atkins to perform certain songs, which the entertainer seemed happy to oblige.
Following the event, Atkins told reporters that he enjoys meeting with the children at Holston Home because of the strong connection that they share.
"It's cool to be able to relate to these kids and to show them what hope is -- that's what this place is all about," Atkins said. "Holston Home is all about hope."
Atkins said he was honored that one of the new residence halls on the campus was named for him.
However, he acknowledged that many others were involved in making the Home's renovation project possible.
"It takes many people to accomplish such a project," the entertainer said.
"I didn't lay a brick out there. So many people worked on this project and have showed these kids what unconditional love is," Atkins said. "I'm proud to be a part of something that shows kids that."
On hand for the event were Atkins' adoptive parents, Allan and Margaret Atkins.
"Every inch of who I am I owe to them," the entertainer said.
Atkins' parents said that they are extremely proud of their son and his accomplishments -- both professionally and personally.
His mother said that she still feels excitement when she hears him singing on the radio.
"It's almost surreal," she said.
Also attending Tuesday's event were two of Atkins' cousins, Rita Owen and Ann Grove, both of Morristown.
Like Atkins' parents, Owen also adopted a son, Zane, from Holston Home, but Zane died three years ago after a long history of heart trouble.
Atkins' wife, Tammy Jo, and his son, Elijah, who were at the family's home in Nashville, were unable to attend. Atkins also has two stepdaughters, Lindsey and Morgan.
Also in attendance for the day's events was a film crew from Country Music Television (CMT.) The crew was filming footage for an episode of CMT Insider, which is scheduled for possible broadcast during the weekend of Aug. 29-30 on CMT.