Alabama member Randy Owen now has a room for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital patients and their families named in his honor. The Country Cares for St. Jude Kids founder learned of the news during a press conference on Friday (Jan. 25), during the Country Cares Seminar in Memphis, Tenn.

Owen founded Country Cares -- a program that unites country radio stations, the genre's artists and industry members to raise money for St. Jude -- in 1989. In the program's 30 years, it's raised more than $800 million to help St. Jude treat the patients with pediatric cancer and other life-threatening diseases who walk through its doors, and research cures for those diseases.

“The most important thing I’ll ever do, apart from being a father and a husband, is helping children at St. Jude,” Owen says. “Over the past 30 years, I’ve watched children at St. Jude grow up to be happy, healthy adults. This room dedication shows that the country music industry has made a true impact, and I’m glad I could be part of that.”

Adds Richard Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, "Randy Owen has rallied the country music community like no other for 30 years to make a tremendous difference in helping St. Jude fulfill its lifesaving mission for our patients and their families. He is proof, like our founder Danny Thomas was, that one person can make a remarkable difference in this world ... We are forever indebted to Randy and his family for their years of generosity.”

A series of fundraising radiothons, held annually by more than 200 country radio stations across the country, is the anchor of the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids program. The year's efforts begin each January with the Country Cares Seminar, during which nearly 1,000 country radio programmers, media members and artists gather in Memphis.

Although Country Cares began with Owen, he made sure to emphasize, during the press conference, that the effort and the money raised goes far beyond him: "It's about 'we', not 'me,'" he noted.

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