Scotty McCreery put a bigger national spotlight on Garner during his run to win American Idol than anyone ever has before. On Scotty McCreery Day in Garner, he tried to help the town draw some more national recognition.
The young country star pitched in $10,000 toward the city’s fundraising efforts to send an entourage to the All America City competition in Denver during a multi-stop charity jaunt around town.
The donation helped Garner exceed its fundraising goal.
“The All America City stuff, it’s a huge thing to the town and to us. To me it’s the best city I could have ever dreamed of growing up in,” McCreery said. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to help. I really didn’t think twice about it.”
McCreery also donated seven new Lenovo computers to the classroom of his former music teacher, Beth Palmieri, in a surprise visit to Timber Drive Elementary. McCreery partnered with the Morrisville-based computer company on the contribution after singing for employees at a corporate event. He said he hand’t been to the school in a long time
Later he visited Community of Hope Ministries at Garner First Baptist Church to deliver cases of peanut butter – a highly sought item for food pantries. McCreery hoped to promote DoSomething.org’s Peanut Butter and Jam Slam, which encourages young people to donate nonperishable food items to pantries.
“We’re very blessed folks, so to spread those blessings is important,” McCreery said.
But the big check came out at Town Hall where he met with Mayor Ronnie Williams and Town Manager Hardin Watkins, who told him about the All America City campaign.
After an application process, the National Civic League tabbed Garner to be one of 20 finalists to attend the competition in Denver, where 10 winners will be named. Travel and other cost associated with the presentation have been estimated at $50,000 to send roughly 40 representatives to Denver, a roughly average cohort for the competition.
The town had been working to raise half of the money through funds – the rest would be covered in the budget. Garner leaders quickly raised more than $21,000, so McCreery’s donation pushed the town well over the $25,000 it had hoped to raise.
The theme of the year involves honoring service men and women and veterans. Garner’s just-dedicated Vetereans Memorial played a large role in its candidacy, and the town believes it has a great chance at becoming the first in Wake County to win the honor in 38 years. Garner is the first finalist from the Triangle since Chapel Hill in 1989, and would be the first winner since Durham in 1983.
May 14 was declared Scotty McCreery Day by the town a year after winning Season 10 of American Idol. His stay in Garner for the occasion was short; McCreery, who had bused in from New Jersey the morning of the donations, had to fly to Los Angeles the next morning after the donations. McCreery finished his second semester at North Carolina State University while balancing a tour schedule in the spring.