Once again this fall, students from Belmont University School of Physical Therapy assisted with the annual Dierks Bentley Miles and Music for Kids motorcycle ride and concert to benefit Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Since its inception seven years ago, Belmont physical therapy students have served as the event’s volunteer staff, and this year over 70 students participated.
“We could not have taken this event to the level it now is without the help of my friend Mike Voight and his students at Belmont University,” said Bentley. “The Belmont students have been integral to the success of this event from the inaugural ride seven years ago to its current size. I always look forward to working with them.”
Unfortunately, after coordinating preparation for the event, stormy weather forced the last-minute cancellation of the motorcycle ride and eventually the concert as well. Among the thousands of disappointed fans were some discouraged volunteers as well.
“The Belmont PT students are a huge part of the continued success of this event. We had all been working hard for a few hours when they made the decision to call off the show and the mood could have easily changed, however everyone pulled together to tear down fencing, tables, and staging as quickly as it went up. The students never complained, and did everything that was asked of them. I was so proud to be associated with such a great group of hard working and dedicated young adults,” said Belmont alumna and adjunct faculty member Ashley Campbell has volunteered for the past five years, overseeing all of the volunteer staff for the past two years.
In the middle of all of the tear down, Bentley decided that he did not want to let down his fans who drove and flew from cities and states away to be part of his annual Miles and Music for Kids charity event. He made the decision to put on a small impromptu jam in the Reverb room at Hard Rock Café. Sheryl Crow, who scheduled to perform following the motorcycle ride, joined Bentley on stage to do what she could to help give back to the country music fans and supporters.
“It was a tough call, but we had to make it for everyone’s safety,” Bentley said of canceling initially. “But, we still had so many fans in town who traveled, sometimes hundreds of miles to help support Vandy’s Children’s Hospital, I felt like we had to find a way to do something to thank them and the students for their time and donations over the past seven years. We decided to run across the street, invite anyone still hanging around and before we knew it, the place was packed out. I still can’t believe Sheryl came by … she jumped in her car and came over the minute she heard it was happening.”
Dr. Mike Voight who along with Dr. Pat Sells has coordinated Belmont’s participation with this event said, “This was a great learning experience and fun event for our students. Not only did they get to meet and work with the stars of country music, but also learn to deal with unexpected events. In doing, so they also helped the community in a large way,” said Professor Mike Voight, who has coordinated Belmont’s participation with this event with Associate Professor Pat Sells.
Jami Graham, a second year physical therapy doctoral student and class leader added, “The Dierks fundraiser is an event we look forward to each year. It’s fun to see my fellow classmates come together to make it happen and contribute to the overall success of this event. While we were disappointed that the event had to be cancelled in the middle of the setup process due to weather, we were still happy to be able to help in any capacity that was needed. When Dierks decided to go with an indoor concert, we quickly shifted our emphasis to help making that a success. It is a real privilege to have this opportunity to give back to the community. While the event did not go as planned, it is still a good feeling to know that all of our hard work went towards an amazing organization”
Sells said, “Our students have been involved in staging this event for several years and have become very well versed on how to pull together as a team and get things done. While we had a few hurdles today, it was a pleasure to watch them give and serve unselfishly. This is what service is all about.”
Since the inception of this annual event, $2,000,000 has been raised to benefit the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network.