Reporting Heather Froglear
K-Frog is proud to announce that Little Big Town has rescheduled their free concert at Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar And Grill”, for Wednesday, February 6th at 8pm. Admission to the show is free (21+), as space allows, with a cash donation to The Dogwood Project of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
It was over the Thanksgiving holiday, that tragedy struck the family of LBT’s Kimberly Schlapman, causing a few dates on the West Coast leg of their tour to be cancelled. But
On November 21st, 2012, Kimberly lost her brother in law, Allen Schlapman, when he was hit head on riding a motorcycle, and senselessly killed by a drunk driver while visiting his sister-in-law and brother Stephen over the Thanksgiving holiday. The loss of Allen was tragic, but Kimberly and Stephen found strength in not only their faith, but through the creation of The Dogwood Project of the Community Foundation Of Middle Tennessee, a non-profit organization designed to carry on the legacy of Stephen’s late brother.
The inspiration for the name of The Dogwood Project, came from a conversation that Stephen had with his brother Allen, the day before the accident, as they both stood on the Schlapman’s property as Allen discussed his love of Dogwood trees. The outpouring of support for Allen’s 9-year-old daughter Rachael, after the tragedy, led to The Dogwood Project’s mission statement.
As is usually the case when a loved one dies, the parent or spouse receives a plant or bouquet of flowers, but few think of the children left behind in that regard. Rachael had received flowers the day of her Father’s funeral. 3 flower deliveries as a matter of fact. And those sweet, small gestures of love helped her to know that someone cared about her, that she was loved, and in essence, helped her begin the process of grieving and healing.
“The Dogwood Project will help kids who lose a close relative as they go through the grieving process,” Stephen says. “We will send the youngest children a teddy bear, we will send girls 5-12 a flower arrangement and we will send boys 5-12 a young Dogwood tree. If we can secure the contributions, we will also send the children a small shovel to help them plant the flowers/tree with an adult as a way for conversation to begin.”
The Dogwood Project will focus its efforts in middle Tennessee, but Schlapman and his team hope to expand their outreach as the organization grows.
Stephen also notes, “Ultimately, we hope to expand beyond the initial expression of love and support to help ensure that each and every child has access to grief counseling so that they can learn how to envision and create a future without this person they so loved.”
Schlapman’s biggest supporter is his wife, Kimberly, who stands by her husband as he channels his grief into a vibrant creative energy. The singer fully understands how deeply tragic it is for a child to lose a parent.
To learn more about the Dogwood Project, click here.
The Schlapman’s and I share a common bond. I too, lost my brother just a month before Allen’s accident. He left behind 3 children: ages 5, 7 and 16. As my nieces and nephew try to understand the sudden loss of their Father, my brother Tommy, I take great comfort in knowing that The Dogwood Project will benefit so many future children who may have to go thru the same earth-shattering experience. And I’m reminded of a little poem I heard many moons ago about the legend of the Dogwood Tree:
“The Legend of the Dogwood”:
The Dogwood Tree, once tall and strong, for Christ’s cross was selected. But Jesus vowed the tree would be forgiven and protected. “Slender and no longer bearing weight this tree shall be. With lovely blossoms shaped just like my cross for all to see.” The blossom’s center shall remind you of my Crown of Thorns That symbolizes hope for generations yet unborn. And every flower shall be pale, to see in the darkest night, so you will know I am the Resurrection and the Light.”