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Toby Keith aims to give back to Oklahoma communities, charities and troops

Golf fundraiser, USO shows are among ways Oklahoma country star Toby Keith contributes to his home state and the nation.
By Shawn Lealos, For The Oklahoman Published: May 26, 2014
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For 10 years, country music star Toby Keith held his annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic, which includes a fundraiser, with one goal in mind.

In January, that goal was realized when Keith raised enough funds to finally open the OK Kids Korral, a hotel for families with children being treated for cancer.

In 2014, the 11th annual event continued, raising money to make sure the Toby Keith Foundation helps the center remain a state-of-the-art facility.

This year, Oklahoma Sooners football coach Bob Stoops, NFL greats Dermontti Dawson and Tony Casillas and renowned American storyteller Red Steagall were some of the celebrities who chipped in to help Keith with his passion project. The project raised more than $1 million in 2013, and Keith said he expected to reach that level again this year.

While people see the celebrities converge on Norman every year for the golf classic, what Keith sees is a chance to give back to the community and help the families of children who are facing cancer treatments.

“It was my goal when we started over a decade ago,” Keith said about opening the OK Kids Korral. “The Korral is 16 rooms of Ritz-Carlton meets Disneyland. People can drive in without the money to stay anywhere or any money to eat, but their kids are sick. They come in, and we check them in there. It eases and facilitates all of their needs while they are in town. I found my calling.”

Working with celebrities, communities

Keith’s calling doesn’t end with the OK Kids Korral. It seems Keith is always giving back. Not only does Keith find celebrities to come help with his charity causes, but he also pays it back by giving his time to their causes. The celebrities work together and do their best to make the world a better place through charity work.

The tornado that devastated Moore in 2013 was another cause for which Keith was able to rally his friends. He brought in names including Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson and Ronnie Dunn to help raise money to rebuild Keith’s hometown.

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AT A GLANCE

The annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic takes place every year in Norman, with the charity auction taking place at Riverwind Casino and Hotel. People who want to donate money to the Toby Keith Foundation or learn more about the OK Kids Korral can go to www.tobykeithfoundation.org. For more information about Keith’s “Shut Up and Hold On” tour dates, go to tickets.tobykeith.com.

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