In the small town of Marshville, N.C., there's a new sign that marks the birthplace of country music singer Randy Travis.
Mayor Franklin Deese honored country musician Randy Travis in a hometown ceremony on Saturday (Sept. 16). Deese presented Travis with the key to the city in addition to the placement of the new sign. The new sign replaced an old, weathered one.
"The 1986 release of his debut LP, Storms of Life, was a watershed moment in American history," Deese stated in his address to the crowd. "The album, which has sold nearly four million copies, was a cornerstone in the neotraditionalist movement in Nashville. Many other country stars were inspired by it."
Old friends and fans alike welcomed Travis at the event. Though he could only muster the words, "Thank you very much," the crowd received him with warmth and enthusiasm.
Travis has limited speech capabilities and is wheelchair bound most of the time these days due to a stroke he suffered in 2013.
Randy Travis received the key to the Town of Marshville on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/3zSqpvzvIh
— Ernestine Staton (@ErnestineStaton) September 18, 2017
"It was emotional for all of us, because he came so close to death with his stroke," Marshville Chamber of Commerce member Kay Strawn told the Charlotte Observer. "This moment almost passed us by." Strawn attended the same church as Travis growing up. "We got to say just how much we appreciated him," she continued. "We could see from that wide grin that it was just as emotional for him. I bet he hasn't smiled that much in the three years!"