Mountain Tough Recovery Team Names Barbara Joines as Executive Director

GATLINBURG, TENN. (September 19, 2017) – The Mountain Tough Recovery Team (MTRT) announced today it named long-time Sevier County tourism leader and volunteer, Barbara Joines, the new Executive Director effective Oct. 30.

Joines most recently served as Senior Vice-President/Chief Operations for Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment. She worked for The Dollywood Company for 30 years and retired from the company as the Vice President/General Manager of the Dollywood theme park. In addition, Joines has been a strong volunteer and chairperson for Alzheimer’s Tennessee and serves on the board of the Dollywood Foundation.

“Barbara is an original member of our Foundation’s board and has served for many years as the Board’s Secretary,” David Dotson, Dollywood Foundation President said. “She has been a key ingredient in the success of the Imagination Library. She has both the vision needed to lead an organization and the discipline required to insure an organization’s aspirations are fulfilled.”
”Since the wildfires last year, I am aware of so many friends and community leaders who have worked tirelessly with so many of the relief efforts,” Joines said. “My husband Gary and I have witnessed the heartbreak of others who have lost their homes and personal possessions.

“At this time in my life, joining the Mountain Tough Recovery Team is an opportunity to lend my expertise and be of help to others who are still in need. Transitioning from my employment with Fee/Hedrick and resigning my board position with The Dollywood Foundation will enable me to focus on MTRT efforts and the challenges ahead. I look forward to October 30 and being involved with a team who is working to make a difference in the lives of the people they serve.”

When Joines takes over October 30, she will lead the Mountain Tough Recovery Team in providing case management services and resources to those impacted by the fires. Since July 1, the case management program has delivered $150,000 of financial assistance to approximately 250 families. The organization will soon launch an effort to clean up 100 sites where a family’s primary residence was lost in order to prepare the site for home rebuild. MTRT also assists Appalachian Service Project’s program to rebuild 25 homes through its volunteer efforts.
“Barbara is the perfect choice to lead the Mountain Tough Recovery Team. Our board is so excited she has accepted the position,” Ellen Wilhoit, Chairperson of MTRT’s Board of Directors said. “Her strength and integrity will lead Mountain Tough into the future.”

The Mountain Tough Recovery Team received a $3 million contribution from the Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund in May to provide continuing services to the families who were affected by the November 2016 wildfires.

The My People Fund provided $10,000 to recipients whose primary residences were completely destroyed. The fund, which was established by Dolly Parton, The Dollywood Company, Parton’s dinner theaters and The Dollywood Foundation, was supported by contributions from across the country, as well as donations made through the Smoky Mountains Rise telethon which took place in early December of 2016. That money provided an initial hand up to displaced families through the monthly check distribution.
Anyone who wants to help the Mountain Tough Recovery Team with their efforts should visit for information on how to donate, how to volunteer and much more. The website is the official source for all information regarding the recovery effort.


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About the Mountain Tough Recovery Team: The mission of the Mountain Tough Recovery Team is to assist individuals and families recovering from the 2016 wildfires in the Gatlinburg and surrounding Sevier County area. The organization provides case management services and financial assistance to address current needs and provides assistance to facilitate the process of clearing sites for rebuilding. For more information about how to help the Mountain Tough Recovery Team, please visit


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