Carl Perkins, “the godfather of rockabilly,” not only brought joy to millions with his music, but he also made a huge difference in the lives of many on a smaller, more intimate scale. He dedicated a huge portion of his life’s energy to helping children. The National Exchange Club was a national organization that had decided in 1979 to adopt child abuse prevention as one of their main projects. A group started working locally in Jackson, Tennessee to create the Jackson Exchange Club.
The same year, the local news in Jackson carried a heartbreaking story of a young child who died as a result of child abuse. Like so many others, Perkins, who lived in Jackson, was deeply affected by the story. However, Carl was particularly stuck by the story because he felt that the child looked like one of his own kids and so he decided to get involved. He worked with others to put together a concert to raise money and the event was a huge success. With the proceeds from that concert along with other fundraising and grants, The Exchange Club–Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse opened their doors in 1981 in Jackson. It was only the fourth exchange club nationwide.
According to their website, “the mission of the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center is to provide support to families in preventing and dealing with child abuse in West Tennessee, and help both parents and children meet the practical needs of preserving and improving the quality of family life.” Perkins obviously believed there was no nobler mission than that and he put his considerable talents to work toward fulfilling that mission. The website also says that “Today, the Center is recognized as one of the largest and most successful of its kind in the Nation.”
The center attests to the artist’s love for children and his dedication to helping them. Perkins once said that of all the awards and honors he received, none meant more to him than having the Child Abuse Prevention Center named after him and knowing that he played a part in making dreams come true for the children. The center has now grown to serve families and children in 18 locations throughout West Tennessee and covers all counties outside of Shelby.
For the past 16 years, the center has held the annual Blue Suede Spectacular. This event is an important fundraiser for the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center. It’s just another way that the rockabilly singer’s legacy keeps helping the children.
We all know that Carl had a huge impact with his “Blue Suede Shoes” and other music, but it’s the impact he’s made in the lives of hundreds (if not thousands) of families and children across West Tennessee that really makes me proud to be a fan of Carl Perkins!
Buster Fayte is an author and rockabilly musician. He Blogs at “Buster Fayte’s Rockabilly Romp” where he writes about the passion he shares with millions of musicians and fans for rockabilly and oldies music. Buster has written several books including the “Complete Home Music Recording Start Kit”. He writes original songs, sings, and plays both guitar and bass.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com