Ocean City Today

Charles named ‘Outstanding Young Tennessean of the Year’

By Kara Hallissey | Jan 25, 2018
Ocean City native Jimmy Charles was recently named ‘Outstanding Young Tennessean of the Year’ for his work with Zero Cancer and the many contributions he has made to several other nonprofits throughout the nation.

(Jan. 26, 2018) Ocean City native Jimmy Charles was recently named “Outstanding Young Tennessean of the Year” for his work with Zero Cancer and the many contributions he has made to several other nonprofits throughout the nation.

“It was quite an honor,” Charles said. “I was holding back tears thinking of all the cancer survivors and I dedicated the award to them. It has been an emotional ride the past four years.”

The country music artist and Stephen Decatur High School alum is the spokesperson for Zero Cancer, a prostate cancer nonprofit. It led to the debut of his “Superman” single after the organization asked Charles to write a song encouraging men to get checked, which was co-written with Goose Gossett.

“We have used the song and video to reach millions of people with a lifesaving message,” Charles said.

Charles performs at prostate cancer runs and walks across the United States in addition to making morning show appearances to talk about the disease.

“Four years now, we have been on a nationwide tour to spread awareness of prostate cancer and encouraging people to get checked out,” Charles said. “We are giving a voice to the cause because one in eight men get it, which is the same as breast cancer, and no one talks about it.”

Prostate cancer has no symptoms until it’s too late, it is hereditary and early detection is key to treatment.

“To save lives through music has been amazing,” Charles said. “The families of survivors are so grateful. Some have tattoos of our logo and they’ve said it brings them strength to fight harder. If it wasn’t for the song or message they wouldn’t have thought to get checked.”

In addition to co-writing the official anthem of Zero Cancer and participating in a nationwide tour with 185 shows, Charles was also successful in helping to add $10 million to the Department of Defense’s medical research budget after giving a speech to representatives from all states at the DC Summit last year.

“Across the country, I have seen how oblivious people are to this disease and how easily this can be avoided by education or a cure for cancer,” Charles said. “I never thought about it until I lost people from cancer. I hate cancer.”

In addition, Charles has also raised money for Coastal Hospice, Toys for Tots, Diakonia, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Survivorville, Children's Miracle Network and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Every holiday season, Charles has a “Home for the Holidays” benefit concert locally, which took place at Dry Dock on 28th Street last month and raised $2,300 in addition to “truck loads of food” for St. Mary Star of the Sea and Holy Savior Parish food pantry and assistance program in Ocean City. A number of local restaurants and businesses contributed auction items for the event.

Charles also raised money for the U.S. Virgin Islands this past year. His music video for the song, “Bout Summertime,” was filmed on St. Thomas and St. John in 2017 before the hurricanes hit.

His “Outstanding Young Tennessean of the Year” award was achieved after being nominated by both Tennessee and Maryland for the “Ten Outstanding Young American” awards.

“There are amazing people in Tennessee, “the Volunteer State,” and it is humbling to receive this award,” Charles said. “They surprised me. It lets me know I am making a difference and people are noticing. The biggest award you could ever imagine is telling their [Zero Cancer] stories and [letting them know] someone is fighting for them.”

Currently, Charles is writing music and plans on debuting a new album in the spring.

Charles has opened for some of the biggest names in country music including Merle Haggard, Lady Antebellum, Montgomery Gentry and Kacey Musgraves. In addition, he was a contestant on American Idol Season 9 and earned a Top 50 spot on Nashville Star.

For more information on Charles, visit his website at www.jimmycharlesmusic.com. Check him out on Facebook or follow his other social media handles on, Twitter @jimmycharles92 and Instagram @jimmycharlesmusic.

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