(June 21, 2019) Ocean City native and country music artist, Jimmy Charles, has been named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans by JCI USA.
“Words cannot express the overwhelming feeling of gratitude I have accepting this prestigious honor,” Charles said. “Ten years ago, I left everything I knew with just a guitar and a dream. It was a turning point in my life and I knew I wanted to be a better man.
“I prayed on my long drive to Nashville not knowing what my future would hold, not for fame or fortune, but to use my passion and talent to help make a difference in the world,” he continued. “Everyone is given a gift and it’s how you choose to use that gift that is truly important in life.”
Each year, JCI USA (Jaycees International USA) recognizes the accomplishments of 10 people who are “truly outstanding in the areas of business or entrepreneurial accomplishment, political achievement, humanitarian and voluntary leadership, and more.” The 10 individuals were selected from a field of nearly 60 nominations.
Charles found out he was one of the 10 winners a few weeks before it was officially announced on June 13.
When Charles was told he would be receiving an award he felt “eternal joy [and] accomplishment.”
“I immediately hugged my fiancé and said, ‘We got it.’ We got it not because I need awards, but because I knew this would create so many more opportunities to do more wonderful things in the world,” he said. “That is what excited me.”
The national JCI organization revealed the winners on its social media page last Thursday. That same day, it was announced publicly for Charles in Tennessee at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new stage and recreation area. Charles was a guest and former presidential candidate and governor, Mike Huckabee, made the announcement.
“It was great to be introduced by former presidential candidate, governor and someone who has done so much in society and been such a political leader,” Charles said. “He was very genuine and friendly and thanked me for all the work that I have done. It certainly added to the special moment.”
Since 1938, JCI USA has spotlighted young men and women (under the age of 40) who “best exemplify the finest attributes of America’s youthful achievers.”
Previous honorees include Bill Clinton (1979), John F. Kennedy (1946), Dick Cheney (1976), Kurt Warner (2010), Wayne Newton (1977), Gayle Sayers (1969), Elvis Presley (1970), Michele Tafoya (2001) and Ruth Riley (2014).
“What excites me the most about accepting this award is being part of this distinguished group of honorees, including past presidents, vice presidents, actors, authors, military heroes, scientists and our beloved Elvis, will no doubt create more opportunities to make a difference in society and the lives of others,” he said.
A national spokesman for Zero – The End of Prostate Cancer – since 2014, Charles was named Outstanding Young Tennessean in 2017. He was nominated for the Ten Outstanding Young Americans honor the last three years.
“I have continued to expand upon my work with the start of my own survivor-based nonprofit, I Am Not Alone, two additional cancer-fighting songs and much more,” he said. “I believe this is what finally pushed me over [the top] to winning this year.”
Charles, an “American Idol” alum and spokesperson for Zero, which raises awareness about prostate cancer, released a new country EP, “Hard Way to Go,” in December and received rave reviews.
He launched the #IAmNotAlone Challenge and nonprofit organization, which focuses on the strength and well-being of all cancer survivors, last August.
“It took 10 years of successes and failures to get where I am today, helping survivors fight the most difficult battle of their lives,” Charles said. “To be recognized for that and seeing the hope in the survivors’ eyes when I bring music to their journey is truly an answered prayer.”
The Ten Outstanding Young Americans will be honored at the 81st annual black-tie awards ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Charles, a graduate of Stephen Decatur High School in Berlin, will be in the Ocean City area performing several shows from June 22-30.
Charles will participate in the Miracle Mile Walk in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, this Saturday at 8 a.m. to celebrate survivorship and support Tunnel Cancer Centers Special Needs Fund. It will be followed by a benefit concert at Hammerheads Dockside in Rehoboth, at noon.
Other shows include: Bourbon Street on the Beach, 116th Street, Ocean City, Saturday, June 22, 7-10 p.m.; Bethany Beach Boathouse, Delaware, Monday, June 24, 6-10 p.m.; M.R. Ducks, Talbot Street, Ocean City, Thursday, June 27, 5-9 p.m.; Dry Dock 28, 28th Street, Friday, June 28, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and Harpoon Hanna’s, Fenwick Island, Delaware, Saturday, June 29, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Charles will also be opening for Josh Turner on Sunday, June 30, at the Freeman Stage in Selbyville, Delaware. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and range in cost from $49-$69.
“I am about to release next week a song called ‘We Are Warriors,’ another anthem song for cancer survivors to come together and provide hope and strength,” Charles said. “It is quickly being picked up at Relay [for Life events] across the country.
“Tennessee and Eastern Shore American Cancer Society chapters have adopted it as their anthem and it is spreading quickly,” he continued. “I predict the song will be a huge nationwide anthem to be played in honor of warriors everywhere. I am set to perform it in Nashville at Titans Stadium in front of 30,000 people at their Strides for Breast Cancer walk as they honor the ‘10 Faces of Hope’ with the song.”
The song will be available on all digital outlets next week,” Charles said.
For more information about Charles, visit his official website at www.jimmycharlesmusic.com or check out his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.