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Mr. McHENRY. I thank my colleague. I appreciate his leadership both with the policy committee and on this very important issue.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor America's most beloved gospel singer. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, he holds the world record for singing in person to more people than anyone in human history, to a cumulative total of a live audience of 220 million people.
Mr. Speaker, I am rising to recognize George Beverly Shea, who passed away 2 days ago at the age of 104. ``Bev,'' as he was affectionately known, began singing with Reverend Billy Graham in 1943. In the following years, he would travel to every State in the Union and to nearly every continent on the globe to spread the gospel.
He was inducted to the Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame in February of 1996, and was also inducted into the inaugural class of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists ``Hall of Faith'' in 2008.
From a recent visit with him, I can tell you that such awards weren't the most important things to him in life. As I visited Bev, it was a beautiful day in the summer in the town of Montreat in western North Carolina. He lived right down the hill from Dr. Graham. He wanted to be close to his friend, and that's where he chose to live.
But as I noticed his pictures of his grandchildren, behind those pictures of his family I noticed a Grammy Award. It was a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award given to him in 2010. That was behind his family pictures. Very interesting, beautiful statement from a wonderful person. It was in the Wilshire Theatre back in 2010 when he was given that Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was with the likes of Dolly Parton and even the Ramones. So it showed that he thought family was most important.
Despite his worldwide fame though, friends and residents of his town of Montreat knew him as a person who was deeply faithful to his Lord and Savior and showed many good deeds and great kindnesses throughout the community. He even had a tradition. Though he was known around the globe, he still took the time every year to sing ``Happy Birthday'' to the mayor of his small town of Montreat. What a special gentleman. What a special American. What a special Christian and man of faith.
While friends and fans from around the world and Christians from around the world know him from his renditions of ``How Great Thou Art'' and the ``Wonder of It All,'' he will always be remembered by friends and family in Montreat--and beyond--as one of the most humble and gracious men that has ever been known.
Bev Shea was 104, and leaves behind a wonderful blessing of a family.
So with that, I thank my colleague for yielding and giving me the opportunity to recognize such a significant individual.
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