The spotlight on small and rural communities got a little brighter last week as country music star Vince Gill pledged his support to the America’s Best Communities competition. Sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH and CoBank, the contest is an opportunity for qualifying communities to present their best economic investment and development plans for a chance at up to $3 million to put those plans into action. Gill is the newest addition to the partnership and joined a panel discussion with Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter, DISH CEO Joe Clayton and CoBank CEO Bob Engel in Nashville, Tenn. at the Country Music Hall of Fame, a fitting background for telling the stories of small communities.
“There’s a lot of small town community in me. I have a small town mentality,” Gill told the crowd, for whom the day marked a ceremonial kickoff for their efforts. “This is where I live and I want to make it better, I want to be part of a team focused on supporting the backbone of America.”
Gill, a native of Norman, Okla., spoke of his roots and the importance of lending a hand up to people, and not a hand out.
Clayton, also a product of small town, added that the competition provides the motivation, resources, and reward to support those working to make their communities the best they can be.
In the crowd of nearly 200 were competing communities from across the country, veterans groups and DISH employees from Nashville region.