Gretchen Proves that You Can Go Home Again
Gretchen Wilson put her hometown, Pocahontas, Ill., on the map with her song "Pocahontas Proud" from her debut album, Here For The Party. Now Pocahontas has returned the love with a sign just off the I-70 exit, which welcomes visitors to "The Home of Country Music Star Gretchen Wilson." But the honor doesn't end there. The city recently welcomed Gretchen home in a ceremony at the little league ball fields, aptly named Gretchen Wilson Park. Longtime Mayor David Clark and the Pocahontas city council presented her with a key to the city and sang "Happy Birthday" to her (Gretchen's big day was June 26). Just after 50 little leaguers presented a signed banner along with a jersey and ball cap, Gretchen tearfully thanked the town for their support. She also helped Mayor Clark cut the ribbon to dedicate a new pavilion at the ballpark. The hometown heroine later visited the new Veterans' Memorial in the town square, where her World War II vet grandfather, Vernon Heuer, has his name engraved on the black granite memorial along with veterans from every branch of the U.S. military.