The first live event for the Loudwire Music Awards took over The Novo in Los Angeles, Oct. 24, and honored the best of the best in the genres of Rock and Metal. Among the various fan voted categories were three special awards, one of which being the Humanitarian Award, presented by AXS TV. The recipient of this award was none other than the Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar.
"Who would have ever guessed, when I was trying to be a rich and famous rock and roll star, that I'd be getting a philanthropy award," Hagar said before the show (check out the whole interview in the video above). "It's an honor."
The award recognized Hagar's various humanitarian and philanthropic acts and was presented by Hagar's fellow Chickenfoot bandmate, Chad Smith.
During his acceptance speech, Hagar recalled the first time he caught the "philanthropy bug" back when he was the frontman of Van Halen. While at an event in Indianapolis, Hagar heard about a 9-year-old boy who was suppose to make it, but whose leukemia had taken a bad turn resulting in his absence. Hagar ended up going to visit the boy and his family in the hospital. During the visit, Hagar learned of the hardships and lose the family had endured.
"I'm sitting there going, 'Wow, this is really f*cked up,'" Hagar recalled. "And I thought, 'Damn, maybe I can do something.'"
The experience sparked a new outlook for Hagar, sending him down the path of philanthropy and using his status as a way to help others and feel good about doing something.
"Once you get started with it you want to do it for the rest of our life," Hagar said.
Hagar and his wife, Kari, both help run the non-profit Hagar Family Foundation, which works to raise money for local food banks and various charities in cities Hagar performs in. Since the launch of the foundation in 2008, more than $3.25 million has been donated.
Hagar also owns a chain of restaurants — Sammy's Beach Bar & Grill — and he donates his personal proceeds back The Foundation and charities .
As if that wasn't enough, Hagar also throws an annual concert — Acoustic-4-A-Cure — to raise money for the pediatric cancer program at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. The concert raises about $100,000 every year.
"Acoustic-4-A-Cure is critical. It absolutely accelerates our ability to do this work," Radiation Oncologist from UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Jean Nakamura, M.D. said in an interview which aired during the award show.
"Music is my number one love and it will always be that. That's what got me into this whole mess to begin with," Hagar said. "Getting honored for anything is a wonderful thing, I'll say thank you for that."
Sammy ended his speech encouraging other rich and famous rock stars to consider giving back as well.