Just as Dolly Parton is officially opening the 25th Anniversary of Tennessee's Dollywood Theme Park, the Country Gospel Music Association of Branson, Missouri, has on May 6, 2010, inducted Dolly Parton into the Country Gospel Hall Of Fame. The ceremony took place at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in Dolly's Chasing Rainbows Museum. Gospel and Country Music Star Donny Richmond made the presentation. Richmond was commissioned to make the induction, being a multi-award winner from CGMA, and having received the Living Legend Award in 2007 for his #1 chart songs in the U.S. and other countries.
In a statement read by Richmond on behalf of CGMA President Billy Hale, Dolly was recognized for her many Gospel compositions and recordings. It told of how Dolly began writing songs as a child, even before her formal education began. It spoke of the inspiration of her mother, and how her experiences in church services and revivals led to her distinctive vocal style, aptly described as dynamic and powerful, yet tender and deeply meaningful. Acknowledged was the encouragement and motivation of her fiddling grandfather, who wrote the Kitty Wells favorite, "Singing His Praise". Richmond's comments acknowledged the consistent inclusion of Gospel music at Dollywood, since it's inception through today. Also cited was Dolly's current gospel music release; "Letter To Heaven: Songs Of Faith And Inspiration", a compilation of the gospel songs released over her career. Dolly's Aunt, the late Dorothy Jo Hope, for whom there is a Tribute Display in Dolly's Chasing Rainbows Museum, was co-writer with her on several of these songs. Dorothy Jo also recorded a Country Gospel TV Special with Donny Richmond in the late 1990's.
Among the many Gospel compositions of Dolly specifically mentioned in Richmond's prepared speech were "God's Coloring Book", "Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man", "The Seeker", "Sacred Memories", "Comin' For To Carry Me Home", "Letter To Heaven" and "Coat Of Many Colors". After the Speech; Dolly commented; "I'm deeply honored." Dolly, who was visibly touched by the presentation, acknowledged that she gets "a feeling from singing Gospel songs that I never get from singing anything else". With a heartfelt response to Donny's speech, she said "That's beautiful. I am so grateful. I've really been blessed". She turned tears to laughter when she added; "your speech was longer than my career!"