America Supports You: 'Nashville Star' Winner Gives to Military Families
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2005 Brad Cotter, the 2004 winner of USA Network's singing contest "Nashville Star," will donate a portion of the proceeds from his new single, "An American Dream," to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund.
Twenty-five percent of the song's profits, both from CD sales and Web site downloads, will go to the nonprofit organization. The fund provides a wide range of assistance to the children and spouses of servicemembers who have been killed or injured. It assists families with housing, utilities, medical expenses, groceries, clothing, school tuition and supplies, and any other expenses to help alleviate their need, said Rebecca Campbell, the organization's founder.
The song and financial contribution to the fund are Cotter's way to give back to servicemembers and their families.
"This project is just our little way of giving back. I am truly blessed to have the privilege to grow up in such a wonderful country," Cotter said. "They deserve nothing less than our whole-hearted and undivided support."
Following Cotter's appearance on "Nashville Star" the United Service Organizations invited him to entertain troops in Germany, Bosnia and Kosovo. This experience ignited an interest to help military families, Cotter said.
"Brad, the producers, writer and their associates felt compelled to help these families, and after much research they chose our organization," Campbell said. "These families need financial and emotional support, and if all of us just gave a little more then we can help them in their time of need."
Cotter said that music is like a language that can be understood by everyone. "It is universal and has no preference for race, religion, age or even social status. Since music is such an impartial language, there is no better way to raise awareness and support for our troops and their families than through song," he said.
"An American Dream" was written by Army veteran Alfred E. Sweeney, and is dedicated to his uncle, Eugene Sweeney, who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and was recently inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.
According to Cotter, this patriotic song differs from many recent military themed songs in that it is completely neutral in regard to politics and the war in Iraq. "It is not my desire to take sides concerning whether or not we should be at war," he said. "We need to let the troops know, no matter what our political views, that we know they are fighting for our freedom."
Cotter, a 35-year-old Alabama native and one-time gospel singer, moved to Nashville more than a decade ago to pursue his dream of a career in country music. His struggle to fulfill this dream was difficult and paved with disappointments, he said.
His Web site indicates that he was actually on the verge of taking a singing job on a cruise ship when he decided at the last minute to tryout for "Nashville Star." Following his success on the show, he signed a contract with Sony Music and released his debut album, "Patient Man."
"Hopefully, 'An American Dream' can, in some small way, let our military personnel know that they are appreciated and always in our prayers. Any way that we can show our military that we support their efforts is not only a good idea, but I feel it is our duty as Americans," Cotter said.