Honoring Cory Morrow
On November 5, The Salvation Army Austin held our 10th Annual Rock The Red Kettle benefit concert. Amidst the excitement and live music, we took a moment to honor an individual who has been instrumental in the success of our annual Rock The Red Kettle concert over the past 10 years, Texas County artist Cory Morrow. Below is the speech Cory gave after receiving the Others Award. The award honors an individual who exemplifies an extraordinary spirit of service to “others,” not only through support of The Salvation Army but the broader community as well.
“In 1994 I quit college and moved to Austin to play music and hopefully become rich and famous. I had no aspirations to be a part of anything that didn’t benefit me. 10 years later I managed to accomplish some of those aspirations, becoming relatively rich and relatively famous. I mean, to the average person living on the streets or in their car, I am wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.
In 2006 I met my bride. In 2008 we married. In 2011 our first son was born. In 2012 our second son was born and almost immediately following this, the real me was finally exposed. The man in the mirror was brought forth. I had a radical transformation in my life brought about by my king and my savior, The Lord God, Jesus. I was set free and laid prostrate before Him and before my family. Most of whom are here today. Thank you for being here.
One word, one name, changed my life forever. Jesus. Now I say all this to explain how I came to be on this stage today. I had no aspirations of being a part of anything that didn’t benefit me.
When Bob Cole called me and asked if I might want to talk about being a part of the Salvation Army in some way, I was floored. You see, Sherry, my bride and I had prayed that God would show us a way we could serve Him in our community. We prayed for direction and a clear sign. Bob Cole’s voice on the phone asking for your service to your fellow man is a pretty clear sign and hard to miss.
And so it began. We gathered with the army, the board, the staff, some friends, and we began putting on Rock The Red Kettle: music, entertainment, stories behind the songs and behind the lives of the artists on stage. And most importantly shining a light on the Salvation Army to bring awareness of who they are and what they do. To help the Army BE the light in the darkness for so many fellow Austinites.
I’d like to thank:
The advisory board who trusted and have faith in the dream, Jamille Rubesahm, Bob Cole, Clay Corn, Jan Gunther, Kat Mattingly, Colonel Gonzales, Jan Lehman, Randy Present, Mike Nasi, Rob Golding, Sterling Howry, Sam Espinosa, Gene Watson, Heath Hale, Carson and Lara Vaughn, Clay McPhail, Tom Ball, Larry O’Donnell, Bill Bryant, Bill Sealy, Greg Johnston, Bryan Campbell, Geoff Armstrong, Walt and Tina Wilkins, Drew Womack, Shayne Traylor, Barrett Wood, Linda Sanchez, Stacy Ehrlich, Major Reckline, Randy Phillips and Life Austin Church, Barry Floyd with Life Austin.
I’m missing so many and please forgive me. If you’re in this room or have ever been in this room to learn about the army and then give in any way, thank you. Thank you.
Every December you will hear the bell being rung by Santa or Santa’s helpers standing next to the red kettle that says The Salvation Army on it. But what do they do? Who are they? Where does money go? Are there other instruments they might play besides a bell?
Those were my questions, shared by many others. It didn’t take long for me to understand that this organization is one worth giving to and fighting for. One of the highest, if not the highest percentage of each dollar goes to actually serving those in need. The Army serves homeless women and children, and families in need. They serve them where they are. Food and clothes and shelter. Then they offer more. Training, education, housing, jobs, counseling. You wanna get off the streets and get back on your feet and help serve your fellow man? The Salvation Army is in that business. They offer true salvation thru the love of God, thru Jesus. They act because God spurs them on. He moves in them. He inspired each of us here tonight to show up and listen. To give. To help. To serve.
Whatever you do in life, whether you’re a king (any kings here?), whether you’re an oil tycoon, an accountant, a teacher, a mother, an entertainer, we are all in the business of serving one another.
And now, 10 years later, here we are. What began in a dance hall in east Austin, graduated to a beautiful outdoor amphitheater on the grounds of Life Austin, has made it to this, the ACL Moody Theater, the top tier room for music and fund raising.
I’m standing here looking at a room full of my friends and family, peers, and inspirations. The honor is for US ALL. This event is a light shining on the organization whose heart is for those in need: the Salvation Army. YOU who give to the Army are the heroes. I don’t want to take anymore time. Thank you for being here tonight. Give as much as your heart desires and know that it is a worthy cause. One that is divinely inspired. The Salvation Army truly does the most good. Thank you and Amen.”
-Cory Morrow, November 5, 2023 at Rock The Red Kettle