When country music supergroup the Oak Ridge Boys were preparing to launch the 25th annual Christmas Night Out tour, they wanted to add a little something extra–a one-night only television special honoring the work of The American Legion and its efforts to aid veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The last thing the Oak Ridge Boys had on their minds was receiving a major television award for A Salute to Christmas.
“PTSD can be a debilitating disease for service members returning home, but it can be treated,” said Oak Ridge Boys singer Duane Allen. “The American Legion’s work with veterans facing PTSD is among some of the most important in the country, and we wanted to help them support that work with the kickoff of our Christmas Night Out tour.”
Working with the American Legion also led to a number of PSAs for the legion, which aired on multiple national and cable networks, as well as the one-hour Christmas special which aired in markets across the U.S. A Salute To Christmas received a 2015 Telly Award for outstanding television production.
Established in 1979, the Telly Awards are the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, video and film productions, and web commercials, videos, and films. Showcasing the best work of the most respected agencies, production companies, television stations, and cable operators, the Telly Award is a highly respected international competition, receiving more than 12,000 annually from around the world.
In addition to the Oak Ridge Boys, A Salute to Christmas featured Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Martin Family Circus, and Mary Sarah. The special was produced by Tracy Trost of Targeting Concepts Marketing, of Tulsa, OK. Trost was surprised by the Telly Award.
“This project is very special because the heart of it is to bring attention to the needs of our veterans. For me personally, being able to work so closely with the Oak Ridge Boys has been a highlight in my career,” said Trost. “Winning this award just shows how excellent they and The American Legion are. I am honored to be a part.”
Allen agreed with Trost, and added that any recognition the Christmas special garners helps call attention to a good cause.
“If this award can help us tell the story of the men and women suffering with PTSD, and of the help that The American Legion is providing to them, that’s a great thing. We’re honored to have received this award, but we’re more honored that we got to be a part of helping those who’ve given so much to our country already,” Allen said.
The Telly Award for A Salute to Christmas is just one of the accolades received by the Oak Ridge Boys this year. In addition, the Oak Ridge Boys released a critically acclaimed album of new gospel recordings, “Rock of Ages”, which broke the Top 10 on Billboard’s Christian Albums chart. Earlier this year, the Country Music Hall of Fame announced that the Oak Ridge Boys will be inducted into the hall of fame in October.