The terms Savannah, Tennessee and Darryl Worley are two that just seemingly go together. Worley – a one-time teacher in the Hardin County School System – definitely lives up to the description “hometown boy” through his commitment to give back to the area via his Darryl Worley Foundation.
While the Foundation’s biggest endeavor is the Darryl Worley Cancer Center, the group continues to help out many other charities in the West Tennessee area. One of the biggest sources of revenue for the Foundation is the annual Tennessee River Run, held over the past weekend in downtown Savannah – about two and a half hours southwest of Nashville.
Worley told CMChatLive that this year’s Run was organized a little bit differently than in the past, with the events – usually all taking part in the same week – being a little more spread out.
“We split the events up and are doing them on different weekends, and it’s proven to be a really good thing,” he said before the closing concert – which featured Wade Hayes, Lorrie Morgan, and Tracy Lawrence. “The weather this afternoon has been a little cold, but it’s going to be a great show,” alluding to the below-normal temperatures. “You can’t beat the lineup,” he added.
Worley said that once the talent lineup was announced, tickets began to sell online at an unusually quick pace – due to the strength of the bill. “That’s how you know. If it shows up there, then you know that you did something right. You don’t ever know for sure. You try to put the right combination of people together. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it don’t. But, this time it seems like we hit it a home run with it.”
Having Hayes as part of the event was special for Worley, partially due to the fact that the singer considers himself a fan, but also due to Hayes’ own cancer struggles. “My whole thing with having Wade here is I honestly had no idea where to put him in the lineup. He could be the closer, he could be the beginning of the show. He’s so versatile, but his testimony is bigger than all of us. It’s just a blessing to have him here for all of us.”
In its’ 14th year, the Run – and the Foundation continue to do great things for the area, something that Worley takes a great deal of pride in. “We’ve had, already, the biggest year of fundraising ever in 2015 for the Foundation. I laugh about my career sometimes. A career has its’ peak at some point, then it begins to level out or taper off, but the fundraising effort continues to be through the roof. I think the foundation, and what the Tennessee River Run events do for those less fortunate than I and others will be my legacy, and what I will leave behind that will mean the most.”
The singer also gave credit to many of the area businesses and organizations that help make the Run a success – and have helped to build the Cancer Center. “We did a big chunk of it ourselves, but the community also stepped up. When you have a cause like cancer, that so many lives are affected by, it’s almost inevitable that people will make a donation because their uncle or their grandfather died from it. It’s just been so well received it, and we needed it. That was the part that was a little difficult to get through to some folks, but once we got it going in the right direction, we paid it off real fast.”
Though it’s been about six years since Worley has released a full-fledged album, it appears that he’s going to rectify that situation in 2016. “I’ve got about four different projects going at the same time. We’ve got a Greatest Hits project coming next year. I’m doing my first Christian album, which I’ve gotten a true blessing from. We just finished a package called Music and Memories, which shows some of my travels overseas into the war zones to entertain the troops. We also are working on something called The House That Hank Built, which is a tribute to Country Music, and sort of a concept album. I’m a busy man, and for that I am very blessed and very thankful,” he said.
For more information concerning the Darryl Worley Foundation, go to www.DarrylWorleyFoundation.org