Dolly Parton gushed with gratitude for the countless expressions of love and respect that flowed in from fans of all ages and points on the planet in honor of the country queen’s 72nd birthday. Few ladies could ever grace her decades with more style, spirit, or energy than Dolly Parton, and several high-profile confidants and kin told her so. More than just marking a birthday, some impressive musical and social milestones were recognized with gold, and Dolly Parton’s golden heart was noted as much as her golden touch in writing songs.

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Smoky Mountain girls don’t forget

Many of the classic songs by Dolly Parton reflect her roots of growing up in Sevierville, TN, just a stone's throw from where her Dollywood entertainment complex is now.

More than fodder for great lyrics and compelling TV drama, “Coat of Many Colors,” “My Tennessee Mountain Home” and even, “Chemo Hero” from her latest children's album, “I Believe in You” are montages of her own memories and family struggles.

Dolly didn’t just make a PSA appeal for her My People Fund and write a single, showy check for the families whose lives were devastated by last November's wildfires in her hometown region, she rallied corporate and superstar friends through her Smoky Mountains Rise telethon. The effort raised $9 million, and Dolly Parton kept true to her word of providing $1000 per month checks to families most affected for six months. That kind of “putting money where your mouth is” made life-changing differences for folk that Parton considers as feeling “just like my people” in a family sense.

The songwriter, singer, and film star joined several members of her Dollywood Foundation team members in receiving the Governors’ Award for outstanding achievement in community service at the Emmy awards ceremony for their collaborative efforts through Smoky Mountains Rise, streamed on Saturday.

The birthday weekend brought even more “golden” moments. Guinness World Records honored Dolly Parton as the artist with Most Decades with a Billboard Top 20 Country Hit, and Most Hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart by a Female Artist.

Dolly Parton was penning her unforgettable songs long before any concept of digital downloads became a reality, but the Recording Industry Association of America awarded her stellar recognition in this age of syncing. “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” both received golden plaques for more than 500,000 in sales and streams, while the Whitney Houston version of “I Will Always Love You” was recognized as triple platinum with 3 million in streaming sales.

“9 to 5,” the theme song Parton wrote for the film she co-starred in with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in 1980, garnered its own wall of fame place, too, with 1 million in digital download sales.

‘Pretty is as pretty does’

No matter how much gold and platinum shine decorates any Dolly Parton wall, and no matter how many songs from her vast catalog are forever etched in millions of hearts, her personal touch with real, live people matters most to the iconic artist.

Reese Witherspoon sent out warm, loving words to the woman she called “A beautiful spirit” and “my inspiration all my life,” and beyond birthday love, she made an appeal that 100% of January 19’s profits from her fashion store and label, Draper James, would go to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The now worldwide literacy initiative founded in tribute to Parton’s father distributes quality, free children’s books sent directly to a child under the age of six, so that literacy and the love of reading can grow from home, in a parent’s lap.

Miley Cyrus, the prolific singer-songwriter in her own right and goddaughter of Dolly Parton, didn’t just get her flair for a good lyric and powerful delivery from Dolly, but also, a gift with people that goes much deeper. Miley’s birthday wishes radiated with love to “the most beautiful fairy godmother on the planet.” Cyrus sings “Rainbowland” as a duet with Dolly on her recent album “Younger Now.” The song is a plea to end “the hurt and the hate goin’ on here” and to dream of being accepted “for exactly who we are.”

That message is more needed now than ever, with prejudice and partisan politics shaking the government to a shutdown under a leader who cannot decide where to stand. “The way she treats people” is the most powerful example Dolly gives to her goddaughter. “Love and respect” are gifts that Dolly shares with everyone, said Miley, and a birthday is the perfect reason to pay those forward to her because she’s sure to keep that circle unbroken.