With a passion for traditional country music and veterans, Connie Lee is devoted to raising awareness about the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre.
The Eagle’s Healing Nest is a place where veterans can heal in their own time and have access to a variety of programs.
“A lot of times these veterans have hidden wounds of war. It would be great to have these all over the United States because it is a non-profit, non-government facility and the programs are helping and the veterans are helping each other,” she said.
Lee, who lives in Alexandria with her husband, Kevin Cunningham, holds veterans close to her heart. Not only because of the sacrifice they have made, but also because she comes from a family who served.
Her dad, Ben Stich, was a World War II veteran.
“When he was drafted, he had four of his brothers who were drafted too into World War II and by the grace of God, they all made it home,” she said.
Her brother and cousins have served as well as her husband’s side of the family.
“We believe in our country and we feel proud we are living in this freedom because of what they did,” she said.
One way Lee raises awareness about the Eagle’s healing Nest is by holding two shows at the site twice a month, every last Sunday and the Sunday two weeks before, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Another way is through her radio show “Connie Lee Country,” which is aired every Sunday from the Eagle’s Healing Nest at 9 p.m. at BOB-FM 105.5, 106.1 and 107.5.
The same show is also aired on Lee’s radio station in Alexandria, the K-Lakes (KLKX)-FM 98.5, a community station that was recently changed to play more traditional country music.
Performing at the Eagle’s Healing Nest is more than just holding shows to Lee. It’s a form of music ministry.
“Music heals the soul. That’s why I do it,” she said.
As many veterans may avoid crowds and social situations, Lee said one veteran in particular made her day recently. Throughout many shows he remained in his workshop room and only listened to her music through the closed door.
As time went by, he eventually opened the door and now he sits in the back row of the audience.
“If you can reach them like that, that means the world to me,” she said.
Lee’s background is filled with music. Growing up in Urbank, which reminded her of the rolling hills of Tennessee, she was only 3 when she started singing with her dad and older sisters.
“We were a very musical family,” she said.
At age 12, Lee recorded her first song in Nashville. Two years later, she was touring across the United States with the Grand Ole Opry Show and sang with well-known artists, such as Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.
“I toured with all of them. It was quite amazing to be on the road with your idols and Tammy Wynette showed me how to put on mascara and makeup for the stage,” she said.
About a year later, Lee met country singer Chet Atkins, who became like a mentor to her. He also helped her set up auditions for several record labels and helped her get on the Ralph Emery Show
“It was a show in Nashville that got me into the music industry, so I have worked with the biggest and the best in the music business,” she said. “I started so young, but don’t regret a minute of it for what I got to see and do and be a part of it.”
Other artists she has worked with include George Jones, Kenny Chesney, Keith Whitley, Blake Shelton and many more.
Over the years, Lee has won several awards and was also inducted into the Traditional Country Hall of Fame in 2006.
As successful Lee has been, always keeping a positive attitude, tragedy has struck her time after time. Not only from losing loved ones, but in 2004 she lost her voice and ability to sing in a car accident.
“I could speak, but it was like I was struggling for air. I talked like I had tremors and I couldn’t perform,” she said.
As singing was her outlet and a way to cope, losing her voice, led her down the path of faith.
“Losing my voice was like losing my life. It was horrible,” she said.
Lee said she refused to lose her faith in God, but held onto that if he had brought her to it, he would surely bring her through it.
Six years later, her voice returned.
For more information about Eagle’s Healing Nest, visit www.eagleshealingnest.org.