AUSTIN (KXAN) –The LBJ Foundation honored Willie Nelson with its most prestigious award, the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award, Friday at a gala dinner at the LBJ Presidential Library.

Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughters Luci and Lynda Johnson presented Nelson with the award.

“When I think of rural America, I think of Lyndon Johnson. And when I think of rural America and who cares [for them], I think of Willie Nelson,” Luci Johnson told KXAN before the ceremony. “Wille Nelson has done a premier job of saying not only can we not leave those folks behind but we have to be on the front lines clapping the loudest for them. And we’re here tonight to clap for Willie.”

Willie Nelson, who just celebrated his 90th birthday, wasn’t the only country musician in attendance. Eric Church, Sam Hunt, Elle King and Lyle Lovett all performed covers of some of Nelson’s most recognizable songs.

“It’s Willie Nelson’s individuality and free thinking that has inspired me the most,” Hunt said before singing Willie Nelson’s ‘Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.’”

“This man means a lot to me personally and musically,” country music star Eric Church said before playing his Nelson tribute.

Only several other people have received the prestigious award since it was created in 2010. Other award recipients include President George H. W. Bush, President Jimmy Carter, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Sen. John McCain, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, U.S. Rep. John Dingell, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.

 “A lifelong advocate for farmers, alleviating food insecurity, and support of rural communities, Nelson embodies President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s commitment to public service, particularly in the areas of farming and food security,” The LBJ Foundation wrote in a release about the event

Net proceeds from the event will benefit the newly established Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, a part of UT Austin. The endowment will fund research and student fellowships focused on sustainable agriculture, eliminating hunger, resilient energy, sustainable water, and natural disaster recovery to benefit rural and farm communities.