The annual Reaching New Heights Luncheon to benefit nonprofit Cumberland Heights was held at Nashville’s Hillwood Country Club. This year’s guest speaker was Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle.
The popular fundraiser for the alcohol and drug-addiction recovery center was co-chaired by Grace Clayton and Kathleen Estes, with a committee of about three-dozen volunteers working on the event—including a Gentlemen’s Committee.
Original Article: Green Hills News, Staff Writer, David Smith – February 22, 2017
A retired bus operator let it be know that upon his death he wanted to donate his home.
But Timothy Cotton, a retired bus operator who drove for major country music stars Tim McGraw, Conway Twitty, Alan Jackson, Kathy Mattea and the country music group Lonestar, also had a more pointed message: he wanted the success he achieved in life to be a tool for people needing help.
The home at Setliff Place in East Nashville sold this January generating $285,000, all of which was donated to Cumberland Heights, an addiction treatment center.
“This home holds a special place in our heart,” said Mallory Gibson, who, along with her husband, purchased the home. “Our family also lives on Setliff Place and we will now be able to raise our children within walking distance of each other. Tim was deeply committed to his family and his community, and we look forward to honoring that legacy in this beautiful home.”
Following the transaction, Cumberland Heights announced the creation of the Timothy Cotton Fund for Patient Assistance. The fund is part of Cumberland Heights’ endowment and will provide financial assistance to patients who cannot afford treatment or do not have insurance to cover costs.
Cotton was himself a patient on a MusiCares scholarship.
“Tim Cotton was a generous soul who loved caring for others,” said Jay Crosson, chief executive officer at Cumberland Heights. “His incredible donation and the Timothy Cotton Fund for Patient Assistance will help many, many people recover their life from drug and alcohol addiction. Tim’s memory will live on at Cumberland Heights in perpetuity.”
Cotton was renowned for his ability to make friends. He touched so many people in the Nashville recovery community that they organized aftercare meetings in his hospital room so he did not have to miss meetings.
After his death, Cotton’s sister Cathy Reisch, received numerous calls from former Cumberland Heights’ patients who had met Tim Cotton during treatment and were touched enough to call with condolences.
“The Cotton family is grateful to Bill Branch and Life Style Real Estate Advisors. Bill did more than donate his commission – he put his heart into this task, was very supportive to our entire family and dedicated a lot of time to make this sale happen for all the parties involved,” said Reisch.
Bill Branch of Life Style Real Estate Advisors served as broker and donated his commission because proceeds were being donated to Cumberland Heights.
Branch describes the experience as follows: “Tim Cotton loved his family, his home, and his neighborhood.”
Having worked with Cumberland Heights on several other real estate transactions to support their mission, it was immediately apparent to me that this was a very special situation. After meeting Tim’s sister Cathy Reisch for the first time, I wanted to be a part of helping to make Tim’s dreams and wishes for his home come true. We had two goals from the start: to raise as much money for Tim’s endowment to Cumberland Heights as possible through the sale of his home, and do as much as possible to find new stewards for the property that would love the home and the neighborhood as much as Tim did. On both counts, we succeeded beyond our hopes, and there will be many people benefiting from Tim’s beautiful heart and enormous generosity for years to come.”
Cotton was the 1991 Honoree for the Mary Catherine Strobel Award as Volunteer of the Year from Nashville CARES and trained HIV/AIDS volunteer.
Furstenfeld has been traveling to cities across the country to promote his book, “Crazy Making: The Words and Lyrics of Justin Furstenfeld to the Music of Blue October.” The “Open Book Tour” also gives Furstenfeld the opportunity to share stories regarding his struggle with addiction, depression and relationships along with playing an acoustic set in front of a small, intimate audience.
He kicked off the evening with “The Answer,” the title track of Blue October’s first album, and began to tell the audience about his own personal journey, starting with his teenage years. Furstenfeld led his first band called The Last Wish at only 15 years old, the age that he was officially diagnosed with depression. When the Last Wish split up, Furstenfeld went on to create Blue October.
Although Furstenfeld was raw and honest with the crowd, he told his stories with such charisma and humor that throughout the heartfelt details we were all laughing and smiling. He often reminded the crowd, “This is the open book tour. No holding back.” The auditorium felt like a room full of friends, a safe space to share their darkest secrets.
Furstenfeld played a few other songs from Blue October’s debut album, such as “Black Orchid” and “Breakfast After 10.” In these, the audience learned of his first love, Mamie, and how he forgot her birthday after two years of dating. His belated birthday song to her was “Calling You,” the song that scored Blue October a record deal.
He told the audience about his band’s first 15-passenger tour van — and their second one, and their third. He walked us down the path that began his drug addiction, partying on tour every night in hotel rooms and bars. During this same time, Furstenfeld met his first wife and had his first child, a baby girl named Blue, and that changed everything for him. The audience sat quietly absorbing every detail and feeling every emotion as he told his story.
He bravely shared the details of his divorce, the custody battle for his daughter and his spiral back into addiction. And, through all of these hardships, he continued to make music.
Furstenfeld pieced together all of the major events in his life one by one and sang us the songs that stemmed from those events, making them even more meaningful and emotional for the audience, many of which were already huge fans of Blue October.
Towards the end of the evening, Furstenfeld shared his redemption story. He went through a 75-day program at Cumberland Heights, a rehabilitation center in Nashville, and found his faith there. He has been sober for four years now. The audience cried, clapped and cheered for him, all rising to their feet in applause. Furstenfeld truly was an open book, and told his story bravely without shame, but with hope.
After the show, Furstenfeld took time to meet his fans, shaking hands and signing posters, all with a smile on his face. His merchandise sports the phrase “People Can Change,” the perfect summary of his journey thus far.
If you or a loved one would like to speak directly with one of our licensed admissions staff, please call us now at (800) 646-9998 or submit the following information. If outside business hours, we will get back to you the following day.
Why is it so meaningful to give to Cumberland Heights?
Your gift to Cumberland Heights through our annual and capital initiates gives immediate support to patients and their families. To make a longer term impact a gift to the endowment fund will provide patient assistance funding for years to come.