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Honoring The Service Of Reverend Lawrence A. Davies

Rep. Robert J. Wittman

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a man who has made an unforgettable mark on his community over the last fifty years. Since becoming Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) on March 4, 1962, Rev. Lawrence A. Davies has lived a life full of dedicated service, guiding his church and his community through five decades of struggle and success. Rev. Davies will retire from his post on March 4, 2012, 50 years to the day after he began his tenure. A native of Houston, Rev. Lawrence A. Davies was elected to City Council shortly after arriving in Fredericksburg, and in 1976, he became the city's first African American mayor. During the 20 years he spent as mayor of Fredericksburg, Rev. Davies led the city through many economic development projects, including revitalizations of the city's downtown and the establishment of the city's first low-income housing complex. His tenure also saw the creation of a regional public transit system that successfully provided low-cost transportation to citizens. Rev. Davies' service has extended to his private exploits as well. Having been directly impacted by the tragic effects of sickle cell anemia on his family, he and his wife, Janice, have worked tirelessly to increase attention of and advocacy for the victims of this debilitating disease. Rev. Davies also founded Citizens United for Action, a group that promoted civic activism, racial tolerance, and voter education, and his guidance and leadership in the city undoubtedly helped to preserve peace during the Civil Rights era. He has served on numerous boards during his time in Fredericksburg, including the Mary Washington College Board of Directors, the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board, and the Virginia Department of Transportation. As pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site), Rev. Davies has served as an anchor of his community over the last fifty years. Under his leadership, the church has flourished, with continued growth in membership and a focus on the development of innovative ways to help the homeless and provide community outreach. I have worshipped with Rev. Davies and his congregation on multiple occasions, and his insightful, energetic sermons are full of spiritual encouragement and inspirational teachings. Rev. Davies' contributions to the Fredericksburg area since his arrival in 1962 have impacted the entire fabric of the region, and I greatly admire his selflessness, faith, and compassion for his fellow citizens. As he celebrates his retirement with friends and family on March 4, I wish him many years of happiness. I know that he will continue to set the standard for selfless service in Fredericksburg for many years to come, and I look forward to our continued friendship.