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May 15, 2017 - Jimmy Wayne Releases His First Children's Book on Nov. 1
Oct. 12, 2016 - Good Housekeeping Gives Jimmy Wayne Its Seal of Approval
Apr 14, 2016 - Jimmy Wayne Celebrates 200th Grand Ole Opry Performance, A Song Featured in Coca-Cola’s National "Share a Coke and a Song" Campaign and a Third Appearance on the New York Times’ Bestsellers List
Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned award-winning country music artist whose songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for children in foster care. Jimmy’s hits include “Stay Gone,” “Paper Angels,” “I Love You This Much” and “Do You Believe Me Now,” which earned BMI’s prestigious Million-Air Award for receiving one million radio spins in America. In 2009, Jimmy toured with Brad Paisley and recorded “Sara Smile” with rock ‘n roll Hall of Fame duo Daryl Hall and John Oates.
In 2010, Jimmy walked halfway across America (from Nashville to Phoenix) to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster-care system. In 2012, Jimmy helped get legislative bills passed extending the age of foster care to 21 in California, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ohio. In 2014 he released Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way, a three-time New York Times bestselling memoir which recently crossed the 100,000 print sales milestone. In 2016 he received the prestigious Points of Light award from President George W. Bush (41), and in 2017 he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from William Woods University.
Jimmy has performed on the Grand Ole Opry more than 215 times. He lives in Nashville and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of at-risk foster youth by performing, writing books, and keynote speaking. Jimmy's ultimate goal is to build transitional homes for youth who age out of foster care without a place to live.
Jimmy’s third book —Ruby the Foster Dog — will release November 1 on Broadstreet Publishing. (Link to the Amazon.com presale, here)
To find out more about Jimmy and his awareness campaign for foster children, Project Meet Me Halfway, please visit:
Walk To Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found The Way
Prologue: FTW: Twenty-Seven Years Earlier
I sat sullen and shirtless toward the end of the day, alone in my room at the county home where Mama and her fourth or fifth husband had dumped me. My biological dad had left when I was a toddler, and Mama had already abandoned me several times as well. I’d lost count by now how many men she’d had in my fourteen years. A year earlier, Mama had married off my then-fourteen-year-old sister, Patricia, to an older, abusive man.
So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when Mama ordered me out of the car at midnight in a bus station parking lot back then. I was barely thirteen years old; I stood there by myself, hundreds of miles from home, as I watched her pull away into the night with her lover. More recently, she and her husband had deceived a judge into designating me as a ward of the state. No doubt the judge thought the group home, known as Faith Farm, would be a safer, healthier environment for me than living in the chaos, drugs, alcohol, and other blatantly immoral behavior that constantly swirled around Mama’s home.
He was wrong.
I hated my life. I hated living. I hated everything and everyone. I just wanted to die.
Faith Farm was an old frame house with creaky wooden stairs, so I turned off my heavy metal music so I could hear anyone coming up the staircase. I knew that if a staff member caught me doing what I was about to do, I could get into serious trouble. None of the other foster kids were around. It was just me, the evening sunlight, a small jar of black ink, and a sewing needle I’d found. I wrapped some thread around the tip of the needle so it could soak up some ink, like the wick on our old kerosene heater. I dipped the needle into the murky, dark liquid and watched it saturate the thread.
Carefully, I drew the needle out of the ink and then pushed the needle into my skin slightly above my left breast. Ouch! I screamed silently as the pain seared into my chest. It felt like a pinprick, but the burning sensation didn’t disappear. Again and again I stuck the makeshift tattoo needle into my breast, the ink-soaked thread leaving an indelible mark as I pulled it through my skin.
Slowly, the letters began to take shape. First the F. Then T. Blood dripped down my chest, staining the top of my pants. With every prick of the needle, I was reminding myself of what I felt.
I knew what those letters meant. Most of the foster kids I’d met knew what the initials signified as well. Those who didn’t would get it all too soon. FTW.
Again and again I stuck the needle into my breast, stabbing my skin repeatedly as I painstakingly drew, dot by excruciating dot, a cross and a battle-ax below the letters.
Blood now ran freely down my rib cage. Bitter memories of my childhood raced through my mind, and I became angrier yet somehow more numb as the pain of my childhood replaced the pain of the needle. I stabbed my skin faster and faster, until finally a mixture of blood and ink smeared my chest.
Only then did I stop. I sat there quietly with calligraphy ink cover- ing my hands, my eyes searching all around the room. I didn’t know what I was looking for; I was lost and alone.
After a few minutes I stood up, walked over to the mirror, and stared at the initials freshly tattooed into my swollen chest, the letters emblazoned in purple ink, the skin around each letter a sickly reddish- purple color. FTW—those initials expressed exactly what I felt inside. The cross and battle-ax below the initials represented my war with reli- gion. If God really loves me, as I’ve heard all my life, I wouldn’t be in this situation right now.
I stared into the mirror again, then lifted my eyes toward the ceil- ing. “Please, God; if you are really there, give me a reason to change the meaning of these letters.”
It wasn’t a prayer. It was a challenge.