NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at Middle Tennessee State University received $350,000 in donations during the 2023 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix from two entities known for their support of those who have served our nation in uniform.
Southern Company, through its Alabama Power, Georgia Power and Southern Company Gas foundations, collectively donated $250,000 to the Daniels Center, while the Harbaugh Foundation announced a $100,000 gift.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, the university’s senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, accepted the gifts at two separate intervals during the Prix’s Freedom Friday activities.
“We are overwhelmed by the support of the Southern Company foundations and the Harbaugh Foundation of the work by our Daniels Center, which serves not only MTSU’s 1,100-plus military connected students, but all veterans — regardless of their affiliation with the university,” McPhee said.
Huber noted that Southern Company, which actively recruits veterans, service members and spouses by participating in military recruitment events, is known for its partnership with military transition centers.
“Veterans value teamwork, responsibility and dedication,” said Jeff Peoples, Alabama Power’s chairman, president and CEO. “These are the foundations of military service and qualities valued at the Southern Company.”
The Harbaugh Foundation, meanwhile, staged its signature Patriots’ Outpost for a second year at the Grand Prix, an air-conditioned oasis for military connected families attending the downtown Nashville IndyCar race.
Watch a short YouTube video of sights and sounds from the race and MTSU’s presence:
Huber added that more than 1,200 veterans, active-duty troops and their families enjoyed the Harbaugh Foundation’s hospitality at the Bridge Building along the Cumberland River. The foundation hosts a similar outpost in La Jolla, California, at the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines.
“The Harbaugh Foundation has numerous initiatives that support and honor our men and women who have served our nation in military service,” McPhee said.
Later Friday evening, Aug. 4, executives from Southern Company and the Harbaugh Foundation joined McPhee, Huber, and Daniels Center Director Hilary Miller on stage at the Prix for separate check presentations.
Joe Balla, the Harbaugh Foundation’s executive director, thanked Huber and Miller for the Daniels Center’s help in staffing and publicizing the Patriots’ Outpost effort at the Prix. Balla said he was honored to work with Huber to support the Daniels Center’s work.
“I have had the privilege of getting to know Keith personally over the last few years and the leadership and vision that defines him is reflected in the men and women he led and served,” he said. “It’s a privilege to join ranks with him and his team once again and offer our support to his leadership and vision to continue that service.”
Eight other organizations joined the Daniels Center and Southern Company at this year’s Patriots’ Outpost, staffing tables and reaching out to military connected families at the Prix, Balla said.
— Andrew Oppmann (Andrew.Oppmann@mtsu.edu)