'Gambler' Kenny Rogers Is a Winner with Special Needs Kids
June 03, 2014
Country legend Kenny Rogers has been entertaining fans for more than five decades and he's still going strong, regularly touring to delight audiences all over the world with hits including Coward of the County, The Gambler and Lucille.
ET recently caught up with the 75-year-old Grammy Award winner to spend a day finding out more about one of his non-musical passions, the Kenny Rogers Children's Center in Sikeston, Missouri. The center provides the opportunity for special needs kids to get to receive physical and speech therapy, along with a whole lot of love.
Rogers -- who has been married to his fifth wife Wanda for 17 years, and with whom he has identical 9-year-old twin sons -- says he likes being around kids, even though he sometimes has trouble keeping up. "They say having kids at my age either makes you or breaks you, and right now I'm leaning heavily toward break. But it's such a gift. it is truly such a gift."
"When I first came here they didn't have a facility," Rogers said. "They were in a little house of some sort and they had 4-5 kids and their goal was of course to treat anybody who needed treatment and not charge the families for it."
He added: "As a father it would thrill me, I'm fortunate my boys are in good health but if something happened I would love to know I had a place like this to go."
The country star teamed up with other donors who helped finance and build the 7,000-foot expansion of the facility -- which treats 500 children a year -- and also performed a benefit concert at the local high school.
Rogers -- who himself never asked that his name be put on the place he's supported financially for years -- says that while the numbers are important to help the center reach its goals, his reasons for getting involved are much deeper. "It's very personally rewarding to help people who have less."