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The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund continues to provide for the local community with Dolly Parton most recently presenting $200,000 to the fire chiefs of the eight volunteer fire departments located in Sevier County.

The money, which Parton donated herself on Saturday, will be used to support the volunteer fire departments in multiple ways. Each department receives $20,000 of the money for resources and equipment. The final $40,000 will go toward the construction of a new classroom at the countywide training center.

After the pivotal role the departments played in fighting the 2016 wildfires, Parton said the donation made sense: “It’s only fitting that the last of the My People Fund will go to those who were the first to respond to the fires.”

Dolly Parton established the My People Fund just 48 hours after the 2016 wildfires. The Fund provided $1000 each month for five months to Sevier County families whose primary residences were destroyed in the fires. During the sixth month, a $5000 check was provided to each family.

-Nancy Brooks