The parents of slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle have presented Kellie Pickler with the first Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle Patriot Award.
The award was given during the 2015 CMA Music Fest at LP Field on Saturday (June 13), where Pickler sang the national anthem before that night's concert. She frequently performs for the troops both across the country and overseas, where she has toured with the USO eight times.
Kyle's parents, Wayne and Deby Kyle, made a rare public appearance to present the award to Pickler on-stage. "We are not celebrities and we don't want to be," Kyle's father said to the audience of 50,000 people. "Most people don't know who we are and we prefer it that way." They described their son, Chris, as a humble man who also tended to stay away from the spotlight.
"He hated the notoriety," Wayne Kyle said. "We live way out in the country and a lot of times he'd come to see us and say, 'I'm so glad to be here. I'm not answering my phone. I just want to relax and be quiet.' He came there to get away from it all. But he did what he felt he needed to do to bring awareness for our troops."
Pickler posted a picture from the award presentation on her Facebook page, with the caption "So deeply honored to have received the '2015 Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle Patriot Award' - God bless our service men, women, Veterans, and their families for all they sacrifice to protect our freedom. #GodBlessAmerica"
Pickler will be on tour across the country for the remainder of the summer. A full list of tour dates are posted at her website.