Legislation would name Johnson City interchange in memory of Rev. Billy Graham


FILE – In this May 31, 2007 file photo, Billy Graham speaks as his son Franklin Graham, right, listens during a dedication ceremony for the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C.. Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in […]

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Washington County commissioners will consider a resolution tonight that would designate the interchange at Interstate 26 and University Parkway in memory of Rev. Billy Graham.

Graham rose to prominence through his ministry, which he took on the road in 400 of his “Billy Graham Crusades” around the world. Crusades in his early career drew thousands, while hundreds of thousands crowded stadiums for his later events.

Graham died two years ago at 99 years old. Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) said he’s been looking for ways to honor Graham and his legacy.

“We’ve had some really wonderful faith leaders in our lives for generations, Billy Graham is probably the one that stands out really, along with people like Dr. Martin Luther King,” he said.

Crowe said the I-26/University Parkway interchange seemed like the perfect spot for the memorial since Graham’s family lives in western North Carolina and likely travel on Interstate 26 often.

Legislation is in motion to designate the interchange at exit 24 onto University Parkway “In Memory of Dr. Billy Graham.”

“I couldn’t think of a better location,” Crowe said, adding, “I thought this interchange would be really significant when the family drives by they would have that remembrance and that memorial of their dad and their family and all the work that he did in his life and all those great things he did for our entire nation.”

While Crowe said he will be working on state legislation for the designation, the legislation that Washington County commissioners will consider Monday night requests the action from state legislators.

“… just as our country has celebrated the lives of some of our early past Presidents and as we celebrate the accomplishments of such stalwarts as Dr. Martin Luther King, so must we extend that same honor to the man who, with Dr. King, launched the civil rights movement; who preached tolerance and peace to the leaders of all nations; whose Crusades and evangelism were the catalyst to millions of men, women, and children accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; “

Resolution No. 20-02-09

Commissioner Jodi Jones shared the legislation to her Facebook and asked for input from her constituents on her vote.

In a second status, she said she is “inclined to vote no” on the resolution based on the response of her initial post.

Jones made a post asking her constituents on their opinions on the resolution.

“I feel this initiative was not better vetted with constituents, who hold a range of opinions on the issue,” she wrote in the second post.

Jones did not return a request for comment by News Channel 11 by 1 p.m. on Monday.

The commission will consider the resolution among other items at tonight’s meeting, which will begin at 6 in the George Jaynes Justice Center, 108 W. Jackson Blvd.

Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the meeting was at the Agricultural Extension Office and has been corrected.

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