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Teen is July Hometown Hero

Christian Kissinger, 19, has been recognized as Darrell Waltrip’s Hometown Hero for July 2013. Kissinger works to promote autism awareness through playing music.


Although he is only 19, Christian Kissinger has already enhanced the lives of many who know him and many who don’t. To recognize his accomplishments, Christian was selected as Darrell Waltrip’s Hometown Hero for July.

Since he was a young child, Christian has had a heart for the arts and for people with disabilities so his interest in VSA, the Kennedy Center’s international organization on arts and disability, was a good place to plant his passion. That planting included, convincing his mother, Lori to develop a branch of VSA in Tennessee – because he couldn’t, he was only seven.

With Christian’s urging and his promise to do what he could to help, Lori began the process of organizing the Tennessee branch of VSA International. For the past 12 years Christian has honored that promise to his mother in many ways including lobbying for the arts and people with disabilities with legislators in Washington D.C., and performing for children with disabilities.

Recently he put together a band called Just for Today and performed nine times during April promoting Autism awareness. All the money they earned went to the VSA Dulcimer choir, a music program for autistic teens at the Blair School of Music. They raised enough to fund three teens for a year in the program.

“Christian has been the reason that VSA exists in Tennessee and that thousands of children have had the opportunity to explore the arts and be recognized for their talents in the arts,” Lisa said. “He has served as a volunteer, worked as an advocate, raised funds and been involved as a musician.”

In honor of Christian, the Darrell Waltrip Hometown Hero program donated $500 to VSA Tennessee.

While honored to receive the Hometown Hero award, Christian added, “It is really all the young people with disabilities who exhibit courage and strength every day while focusing on their abilities rather than their disabilities who are the real heros.”

Although in August Christian will begin new adventures and experiences as a freshman at Wake Forest University, the young lives he has enriched are all the better for having had him in their corner.

To nominate a Middle Tennessee resident who has made a positive impact on their community as a Hometown Hero, visit


Posted on: 7/11/2013


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