Darius Rucker grew up in a crowded house in Charleston, South Carolina, full of family, music, and love. And while they often struggled financially, his mom made sure they always shared with people less fortunate. That was a gift she gave her children.
“She came home, and no matter how tired she was, if you wanted some time or attention, she was always there to give it to you,” Rucker said on Southern Living’s Biscuits & Jam podcast. “Compassion is something she really instilled in us — and empathy for other folks.”
And even as Rucker has gone on to become one of the most successful musicians ever, he still carries those lessons with him. According to the magazine, Rucker has raised more than $2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The hard work of the doctors, nurses, and staff he met on a visit in 2008 inspired him to host several benefit concerts for the hospital over the years.
The Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation has donated more than $3 million to public education in South Carolina. And he helped raise more than $150 million through concerts and appearances that will fund the building of a children’s hospital at the Medical University of South Carolina, the magazine said.
It’s why Southern Living has named Rucker Southerner of the Year.
Darius Rucker’s Mom Showed Him True Charity
Darius Rucker says he has a special place in his heart for doctors and nurses. His mom, Carolyn, was a nurse at the Medical University of South Carolina. And he saw first-hand the sacrifices and struggles she made while working in that field.
“My mom was a nurse my whole life. It was not just her job. She lived it; she loved it,” he said. “Her compassion for people was something she taught all of us—telling us to care about other folks and try to help. When you’re a nurse, that’s what you do. And it wasn’t something she just did at work. She did it at home, in our community, and at our church.”
Carolyn died when Rucker was 26 in 1992. But watching health care professionals and front-line workers risk their lives during the coronavirus pandemic over the past year has reminded him of her.
“If I were a kid right now and my mom was a nurse, I would never see her because she would take every shift available to help people—not just the patients but the other nurses who just need a break.”
Rucker said he hopes his new hit song “Beers and Sunshine” can give people a little hope during what is hopefully the waning days of the pandemic.