Canadian country music star Jason Blaine returned to his hometown of Pembroke, Ont. Wednesday for his eighth annual charity golf tournament.

“It’s so lovely to have these friends that travel from all over the place to come and party and raise money for all these wonderful causes,” Blaine told CTV News Ottawa.

“From 2014 to 2021 we’ve raised almost $625,000,” says Rhodina Turner, one of the event organizers and the executive director at BGC Pembroke.

Over 40 local organizations have benefited over the years from funds raised at Blaine’s events, with all the money going back into local programs.

“So because of COVID we kind of had to back down, but we started back into the music program this spring with the step dancing,” says Turner, for children in Pembroke interested in music and dance classes. “So we’ll be offering the step dancing, back into the guitar and piano, and all of this is free.”

“The Boys and Girls Club we’ve helped since day one,” remarks Blaine. “The Robbie Dean Centre, mental health crisis center as well. That one especially is near and dear to my heart.”

Growing up in Pembroke, Blaine’s parents say they are proud of their son who has made it a priority to never forget his roots despite now living in Nashville, Tennessee.

“It’s all he ever talked about from the day he started his music career,” says Blaine McEwen, Blaine’s father. “He said, dad I want to come back and start this thing. And I didn’t know how big it was going to get, and it’s gotten really big and it’s really good.”

“This is still his hometown and anytime people ask him, Pembroke is his hometown.”

The day usually consists of rounds of golf throughout the afternoon, followed by a concert by local and Canadian artists in the evening. However, heavy rains earlier in the week prevented many from playing the flooded Pembroke Golf Club course.

St. Catherine’s country music star Tim Hicks was fine having that decision made for him, remarking it probably wasn’t his golfing ability that got him invited.

“Well I thought that I probably have lost my scorecard from 2015 so he’s forgotten how terrible of a golfer I am,” Hicks tells CTV News. “But I’m always happy to come out and support such a great cause.”

Hicks says he commends Blaine to stay connected to his hometown of Pembroke.

“I’m proud of him,” says Hicks. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the Nashville scene and because America is so huge and so big and the music industry is so vast. But what I love about Jason is he’s never forgotten where he comes from.”

Other artists in attendance for the event included David James, Elyse Saunders, Brian John Harwood, Ottawa duo Lemon Cash, Arnprior group Rivertown Saints, and Smiths Falls native Landon Bedor.

Despite having a hectic schedule whenever he returns home, Blaine’s mother Cheryl says he always finds time for his favorite activity in Pembroke.

“He likes to go on the Ottawa River,” McEwen says of her son. “The Ottawa River is still what he likes to at least get in one time while he’s home.”

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