Former Alabama lead singer Randy Owen was honored with the first Donald R. Myers Humanitarian Award on Friday at Fort Payne City Hall.

Given by the Development District Association of Appalachia, director Dan Neff described Owen as someone who “knows the true meaning of these mountains.”

“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate what you have done for this region and all of Appalachia,” Neff said.

Congressman Robert Aderholt presented the award to Owen. Aderholt accepted the award on Owen’s behalf at a ceremony in Washington in March, but Owen couldn’t make it because of inclement weather.

“He’s, of course, someone who is know for his singing talent and for his success,” Aderholt said. “He’s known around here as family and as a friend.”

Owen said he was honored.

“The first recipient is an incredible honor,” Owen said. “This is a very special thing for me.”

Owen was selected because of his work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Alabama Sheriff’s Boy’s and Girl’s Ranches and the June Jam held in Fort Payne for 16 years among other charity work.

“People can’t take God-given talent away from you and they can’t take a degree,” Owen said. “I was one of those kids that could have so easily fallen through the cracks. Watch for those kids. God saw fit for me to be here today.”

Among those in attendance were Mayor Bill Jordan and the Fort Payne City Council.

“Thank you for being such a good role model for our city and state,” Jordan said. “We are proud Randy and Kelly are part of our city.”

Ft. Payne Times-Journal