Joey Feek and her husband Rory Feek may not have won this year’s Grammy Award for Best Vocal Duo, but they did win a prestigious award: the Sagamore of the Wabash award, which is the highest honor in Indiana bestowed by the governor.
The Sagamore of the Wabash award was created during the term of Governor Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949. They decided to use Sagamore, because it is a term “used by the American Indian Tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice.”
To receive the award, the recipient must have provided “distinguished service” to the state or governor. Astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, and ordinary citizens have been presented with the award.
— Katie Heinz (@katieheinz6) February 18, 2016
The country music duo Joey + Rory were honored with the award on Wednesday, February 17. According to Fox 59, State Reps. Bruce Borders (R-Jasonville) and Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown) presented the award to Joey’s father Jack Martin, who had previously agreed to accept the award on his daughter’s and son-in-law’s behalf.
“The Sagamore of the Wabash is the highest distinction in Indiana, and it’s an honor to present it to Joey and Rory,” Borders said.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Joey Feek was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer in May 2014, three months after giving birth to her daughter Indiana. At the advice of her doctors, Joey later underwent a radical hysterectomy and rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Although she appeared to be getting better, Joey’s doctors discovered that her cancer had returned and was spreading in October 2015. Because Joey’s cancer was now terminal, she opted to stop treatment and return to her home in hospice care so she could live out the remainder of her days with her family.
“Throughout her battle with cervical cancer, Joey and Rory have maintained their faith in God, while also providing hope and encouragement to family, friends, and thousands of fans that have been impacted by their blog and social media posts,” Borders said.
Rory Feek, Joey’s husband and the second half of the duo Joey + Rory, has been documenting Joey’s battle on social media, as well as his blog, This Life I Live.
“Important Hoosier values, such as loving others, serving one’s country, following one’s dreams, and showcasing grace and joy during difficult times — have all been exhibited by Joey and Rory,” Borders said. “I would like everyone to keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Being presented with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award was the perfect way for the Feeks to end their day. Earlier on Wednesday, Joey and Rory celebrated a milestone Joey had feared she wouldn’t see: Indiana’s second birthday. That morning, Rory shared a heartwarming video on the duo’s Facebook page of Indy in her pajamas. In the video, Rory can be heard telling Indy that today is her birthday as she repeatedly smiles at the camera.
Rory captioned the video by saying, “[B]arely awake and already celebrating.”
Click here to watch the precious video.
Rory later shared a touching photo of Joey and Indiana celebrating her birthday. Although Joey is confined to her hospice bed, she made sure to spend as much of the day as possible with her daughter.
Rory captioned the photo by saying, “[S]ome birthdays are more than just birthdays. They’re dreams coming true and prayers being answered.”
On Thursday, Rory shared another photo of Indiana’s birthday “hangover.”
“[T]wo-year-old ‘morning-after hangover’… I can’t believe I ate that much cake last night,” he captioned the photo of Indy laying in her high chair.
[Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]