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Owners of Tootsie’s give back in big way to Nashville community
Read the full story at Channel 2

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – While today is Giving Tuesday, there’s a couple of Nashville businessmen who are giving back in a big way by sponsoring the Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade presented by Tootsies.

But that’s not the only way they make a difference in our community.

“I’ve been volunteering probably seven or eight years,” said Al Ross, a volunteer.

Al Ross at the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital (Photo: WKRN)

He has lost count of time he’s put in at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, but not his reason for volunteering every Monday.

He often sees families enter confused.

“They’re scared, too. They want to find where they belong here and get situated,” Ross told News 2.

That’s where volunteers like him step in. It’s something he loves almost as much as seeing lives transformed at the hospital.

“I enjoy seeing them smile and leave here with their families and the kid that’s sick and they’re leaving here and they’re very, very happy, and so it makes you happy. You get a lot of rewards,” Ross explained.

His business partner, Steve Smith, owns Nashville’s world famous honky-tonk—Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.

Steve Smith (Photo: WKRN)

The two have partnered to open

“You know, it makes you feel good about helping people and helping the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital,” Smith said.

The generous duo uses their businesses to hold fundraisers for the children’s hospital, and it’s a business empire that’s growing.

“And we’ve got Rippy’s. That’s another one of our staples,” Smith told News 2. “And then opened up the six-story Diner this year. Now we’re building a honky-tonk on Broadway. It’s gonna hold Harry O’s Steakhouse.”

Steve Smith and Al Ross (Photo: WKRN)

And as their empire grows, so does their commitment to the Nashville community.

Tootsie’s is presenting this year’s Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade, which airs right here on News 2 this Saturday morning, as well as across 225 television markets across the U.S.

“It’s a very well-thought parade. It gets everybody involved in it. You get all aspects of the horses, the people, the dressed-up costumes, and all the people that come on the street,” said Buddy Dunn, Operations Manager.

The parade begins at 9 a.m., and volunteers are still needed. Click here to learn more about volunteering.

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