No Willie means big bill - WFLA News Channel 8

No Willie means big bill

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"Happy, happy, happy". That's not how you would describe one local ministry thought they were going to get a visit from one of the hottest names in television. Willie Robertson, of "Duck Dynasty" fame was supposed to visit the Tri-Cities to raise money for Free Will Baptist Ministries, instead, the church is left with a big bill.

At the end of every "Duck Dynasty" show the Robertson Family prays before every family feast.

"They stand for family. They stand for faith and they stand for just all the Christian values that Family Ministries also stands for," said Family Ministries Director of Marketing Colleen Cox.

That's why Free Will Baptist Family Ministries asked Willie Robertson to speak at Viking Hall in Bristol, Tennessee. Willie was first expected to come in October but due scheduling issues he had to cancel. He was then asked to come in April of next year, that's until the ministry found out about his latest investment.

"The Robertson family had partnered with a wine company out of a California" said Director of Development of Family Ministries Derek Ball.

Family Ministries saw this as a conflict of interest.

"We have the only adolescent drug and alcohol program in the state of Tennessee," said Ball. "We felt like to bring in an individual that was affiliated with a wine company would send a mixed message to the young men that we're trying to help with addiction issues."

Even with more than 1,700 tickets sold and money spent on marketing, Willie Robertson will not be coming to the Tri-Cities.

"We are out a good $8-10,000. We were probably looking at raising $75-90,000," said Cox.

All the proceeds were going to help with an onsite school expansion project, totaling $1.7 million.

They have already broken ground, but now they've got to find another way to come up with the tens of thousands of dollars lost.

"Duck Dynasty" talks about faith, family and ducks. Now, the church will need that faith in order to finish what they started.

Family Ministries told us it will ask individuals and companies to help with the deficit.

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