Receiving star treatment from a star
by Martha Sparks
A local woman and her husband were guests at the recent Academy of Country Music Award show in Las Vegas, thanks to a loving daughter and the generosity of one of her favorite country singers.
Rose Erlewine, owner of Unique Kitchens in Chapmanville, was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer and has been receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“My parents travel to Las Vegas frequently throughout the year. The trip they had scheduled in January was canceled due to her illness,” Billie Erlewine Hepperheart. “However, she’s been on a three week break from treatment and my Dad scheduled them an impromptu getaway.”
The day before leaving for Las Vegas, Rose saw an advertisement for the Academy of Country Music Awards and mentioned that she hoped Joe Nichols and his song “I’ll Wait For You” would be there and her husband, Bill, would get to hear him sing it.
“It just grew from there,” Epperheart said. “That night I got busy, busy, busy on the computer searching for any way possible to contact Mr. Nichols or anyone from his staff from his publicist, his management team, Sony Studios, his record producers — literally everyone. I composed a letter expressing my desire to have my Momma see him, meet him or anything at all they could do.”
To her surprise, Nichols’ staff responded.
“The following day I received a letter from the President of his Publicity Agency Jenny and also his Daily Manager Damon expressing that they devised an exciting country music filled weekend for the two of them at Mr. Joe Nichols insistence,” Epperhart said.
Nichols and his staff contacted Bob Romeo, CEO of the ACM, who accommodated them with tickets to the Academy of Country Music Awards show.
Nichols was also in Vegas at The Freemont Street Experience.
“He didn’t have the song “I’ll Wait For You” in his set but added it in just for my momma,” said Epperheart. “They escorted she and my Dad backstage and set them up right beside Joe on stage (Behind the Barricades). Toward the end of his performance he said, ‘This next song is for a very special lady here tonight named “Rose” she’s been battling cancer and I’m singing this for her.’ Then, he turned to her and blew her a kiss. With tears flowing down her face, she of course returned them many times. After the concert she met with Mr. Nichols where he gave her the biggest bear hug.”
The Erlewines were impressed that Nichols is such a humble, caring man. The couple was also invited the cocktail party/jam session after the ACM Awards, but the couple already had tickets courtesy of the MGM Grand.
Rose said she did not know before she left for Vegas about all that had been planned for her.
“They surprised me,” Rose said. “I mentioned wanting to see the country music awards, I didn’t even realize that Joe Nichols would even be there.”
Rose said she was unable to stay for the whole show.
“But what I saw was well worth it,” Rose said. “I couldn’t help but cry. He is so emotional and down to earth. So nice — just a really good fellow.”
Rose said she loves country music, but her husband doesn’t.
“Bill despises it,” Rose said. “They told him he could manage to sit through it and he said ‘I think I can.’”
Epperheart said that the Nichols and his staff has continued to correspond with her.
“I can’t imagine another entertainer who would take the time not only to remember my Mother’s name but, to text and check on her,” Epperheart said. “Joe Nichols has inspired me so much over the years with his music but, he has since inspired me as a human being”
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