As the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University unveiled its new Walk of Champions on Thursday (March 15) in Nashville, it's only natural that Dierks Bentley was awarded their first star.

Attributes including "friend," "dedication," "perseverance" and "service" were all used to describe the country star, who's been a longtime supporter of the hospital in the form of his annual Miles & Music for Kids, raising $4 million for the hospital in the event's 10-year history.

"I am personally so honored to have this star. I feel like everyone that knows the situation knows I'm not the star, it's really the doctors and the technicians, the administrators, the nurses," Bentley praised the hospital staff while accepting the honor. "You guys are the stars, you are the ones that make this place what it is, the shining star on the hill. I am very honored to have this."

The special event had the country singer reminiscing about the fond memories created over the years during his fundraiser, including Tim McGraw popping wheelies in the Harley Davidson parking lot before setting out on the ride and how the late Troy Gentry would always be the first to call him each year, eager to participate. But it's the patients of the hospital that hold particular resonance for Bentley, who pointed to families he's met through his work with the hospital and a patient named Dalton "who's been with us from the very beginning."

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Dalton "really gave this whole Miles & Music an identity, a reason, something you can tangibly see and touch and talk to and realize the importance of the work we were doing every year," he reflects.

Bentley views the star more as a symbolic circle, one that's formed by a team of selfless people who dedicate themselves to helping the hundreds of children Vanderbilt serves every day. "I like the circle of life, the circle of wood at the Opry, circle a band makes before they walk on stage. It's inclusive," Bentley says, adding that he and many others will continue to spread the hospital's message. "It's not just one star, it's all-stars, and I feel like it's been a big team of all-stars that have made this happen."

The millions that Bentley and his fans have raised through Miles & Music for Kids not only benefits the patients, but also contributes to the hospital's expansion that will add four new floors by summer of 2019, bringing its total bed count to more than 400. At the expansion's competition, Vanderbilt will be home to one of the 10 largest children's hospitals in the country.

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