LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Neal McCoy doesn't take days off. The 58-year-old country music star is in the middle of a months-long multi-state tour, which is something he's done for nearly 30 years.
But it's McCoy's daily tradition, which started one year ago, that's rejuvenated the patriotic front man more than any concert does.
"I haven't slept in for quite a while now," McCoy said with a laugh. "I know, I'm leading this crusade, if you will."
Sub-zero temperatures greeted McCoy in Lac du Flambeau for a show in mid-January. But first thing that Friday morning, McCoy was outside his tour bus reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
"No matter where we are, what country we're in, wherever we are, what state, we always put it up, and it's just grown like gangbusters," McCoy said.
From palm trees to pine trees and everywhere in between, what started as writing the pledge on his Facebook page turned into McCoy's routine video post every day. Thousands of fans have caught on.
"[They say] 'Yeah, I don't say it anymore. I should be saying it. I'm glad you're giving me the opportunity to say it with you,'" McCoy said. "They're teaching their grandkids again. Some places aren't doing it in school, so they're teaching their grandkids and kids."
That's not a problem at Pelican Elementary School in Rhinelander.
"We bring it to the forefront all year long," principal Martha Knudtson said.
Every student says the Pledge during an all-school assembly twice a week and sometimes daily in some classrooms. Knudtson says they even teach proper pledge etiquette.
"We will wait until everyone is ready because that's how important we think it is," Kundstson said of the Pledge. "And the children do, and they learn and they follow along."
Knudtson says students seem to enjoy the pledge and parents are supportive too. She hopes McCoy's "Pledge" pledge inspires fellow adults to show the same pride.
"We think it's really important," Knudston said. "You know, it's only a few minutes of time and that they can do that."
A few minutes in a jam-packed schedule Neal McCoy is happy to share with fans, turning their diverse set of viewpoints into a dedicated source of pride.
"They're all there, it's 100 percent on saying the Pledge to the United States of America," McCoy said. "And that's what we want. We just want people to love the country they're in and respect it."
McCoy tells Newswatch 12 he doesn't think he'll ever stop saying the Pledge every morning. As of Monday, McCoy was on day number 383. He recited the Pledge outside One World Trade Center in New York.