WATCH: Eric Church Presents Morgan Wallen With Milestone Award at ACM Honors

by Suzanne Halliburton

Eric Church surprised one of his friends as he came on stage at the ACM Honors to present an award to Morgan Wallen.

Sitting with his mom and dad in the front row at Ryman Auditorium, Wallen had no idea that Church was there to honor him. The awards, which were aired by Fox Tuesday night, honored significant contributions of country musicians for the past year and for their careers. The 29-year-old Wallen received the Milestone Award.

The ACM Awards social media team shared a clip of the exchange, tagging both Morgan Wallen and Eric Church.

“There’s nothing cooler than being presented an award by one of your heroes,”

Eric Church Said It Was an ‘Honor’ to Know Morgan Wallen

Church’s tribute was charming and heart felt. He explained that an ACM rep called and asked him to make a presentation and talk about Wallen. “They said ‘we want you to present this award to Morgan and we want you to tell a story,’ ” Church recalled. “And I said I spent the last three weeks, and I can’t tell you one story that I can actually tell you.”

Church did find a G-rated description. “It has been one of the honors of my career, and my life, to get to know Morgan over the last couple of years.”

He added: “Whether it’s on a golf cart, a fishing boat, or over guitars late at night, I’ve seen him go through some things, I’ve seen him mature as an artist, I’ve seen him mature as a man. I can tell you this, we’re very lucky to have him in country music.”

Morgan Wallen already was feeling the love when HARDY and ERNEST, two long-time friends, covered some of his hits. The two sang “Sand In My Boots,” “Wasted On You” and “More Than My Hometown.”

Morgan Wallen knew that close friend HARDY would be at the ACM Honors ceremony. Eric Church surprised him. (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images for ACM)

Wallen Said His First-Ever Concert Was Seeing Church in Knoxville

Then out popped Eric Church in a this-is-your-life moment, albeit one that comes at age 29. But Wallen accomplished something special this past year. In March, his “Dangerous: The Double Album” broke the record for longest time spent at No. 1 on the Billboard country album charts.

In his acceptance speech, Wallen talked about how much his friendship with Eric Church has meant to him.

“I had a whole that I typed out, before I knew any of this was going on,” Wallen said after Church made his appearance. ”The first concert I ever went to was an Eric Church concert in Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. And man I just, I felt… it seemed to me like I could feel what he was feeling when he was singin’… I mean, it changed my life. So for you to be up here presenting this to me now is more special than I can put into words.”