Harrison’s country star Todd Richard was thrilled to win the Humanitarian of the Year award for his work on his song, Follow Your Heart at the 41st annual BCCMAs Oct. 22. Facebook/Dee Lippingwell

Harrison’s country star Todd Richard was thrilled to win the Humanitarian of the Year award for his work on his song, Follow Your Heart at the 41st annual BCCMAs Oct. 22. Facebook/Dee Lippingwell

Harrison country star wins award for humanitarian work

Todd Richard celebrated for work with Variety Children’s Charity

Harrison’s own country phenomenon Todd Richard took home the Humanitarian of the Year award at the 41st B.C. Country Music Awards (BCCMA) on Sunday, Oct. 22 for his work around his song, “Follow Your Heart.”

Richard has been nominated many times, and this year he and his team were up for five nominations, including Single of the Year. But the Harrison local says winning the Humanitarian Award is the “best one yet.”

“I was thankful to be nominated, but there’s so many other great charities, you just don’t expect it,” he says. “[When] he said my name we literally just went, ‘what the….!’ It was pretty shocking. The tables just erupted.”

The kind-hearted country star has lived in Harrison for 17 years and has fans around the country. He uses the word “frand” to refer to fans because in his words, “if you’re a friend, you’re a fan and if you’re a fan you’re a friend.”

When some of Richard’s “frands” asked him if they could raise money and awareness for the Variety Children’s Charity at his concerts, Richard said yes without hesitation.

The Variety Children’s Charity ‘steps in where health care ends,’ providing support to children with special needs across B.C. and the Yukon.

Inspired by his involvement with the charity, Richard says he wanted to use his music to make a difference.

“I have a song on one of my albums called Change the World, and I thought, well wouldn’t it be great to have a song that could change the world?” he says.

Richard co-wrote the song “Follow Your Heart” with friend and producer Jeff Johnson and pitched it to Variety last year. The song is sung by a number of different artists in a “We are the World style,” says Richard.

“We went in [the Variety] office and we played them the acoustic version live right there, and a couple of them were in tears,” he recalls. “One lady said, ‘you know, all of our members and our families and our kids that hear this song, they’re going to relate to it so much.’ And they do… It’s pretty cool, the stories we hear now from kids and their families.”

The song became Variety’s official anthem, with 100 per cent of each download benefiting the charity.

“Music is so powerful,” Richard says. “It’s the best feeling in the world knowing that we’re potentially helping a lot of kids and a lot of families that Variety helps.”

“This award really helps spread the word because a lot of folks still don’t know the song or about Variety,” he adds.