Sep. 24—ALEXANDRIA — Gov. Eric Holcomb Friday declared that the State of Indiana would rename a portion of Ind. 28 as Bill and Gloria Gaither Highway.
The two were recognized for their contributions to the world and Indiana.
"Today is really about honoring not just our heritage, but who we are as a state and to have this power couple, the original harmonizers themselves, lifted up and shared with passersby, whether they're local or transient," Holcomb said.
The two were commended several times for building their brand in Alexandria. As Bill and Gloria entered the Alexandria Bakery, they were joined by friends and neighbors. Bill separated from the group to meet with folks he knew.
The bakery, Gloria said, especially its original location, was where their songs were tested, saying, "If it didn't fly at the bakery, it won't fly."
During his speech, Gov. Holcomb highlighted the couple's many achievements.
"Some 700-plus songs, and that's probably out of date as with anything in print these days," he said. "Performed in countless venues, broadcast to millions around the world. 50 gold albums, 55 platinum albums. When you start to just wrap your brain about what this humble Hoosier power couple has already achieved for us, for their neighbors," Holcomb said during his speech.
INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith said when he that the Gaithers were candidates for the honor, he and his department were excited for the opportunity. Upon being nominated, the Indiana Legislature consults with INDOT to make sure they've picked a quality candidate.
Candidates are chosen based on the impact they've had on society and their community, or "Hoosier heroes," as he called them. When asked how the Gaithers fit the bill, Smith said: "They're uplifting, have a strong message of faith and so, anytime we can recognize that in today's society, we want to take a chance to do it."
Several local dignitaries attended, including Alexandria Mayor Todd Naselroad, Anderson University President John Pistole, State Representative Elizabeth Rowray, and others. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who couldn't attend, sent his congratulations in a letter to the couple.
Bill Gaither said he and his wife were overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of love and support from the community.
"This was quite a morning," he said. "The governor and his staff were extremely gracious to us and we are so humbled."
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