Charlotte Rescue Mission leader speaks on Graham family connections to organization

Billy Graham's impact in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - On the wall of the Charlotte Rescue Mission Dove's Nest facility is a letter from Reverend Billy Graham that serves as a blessing to the organization.

Charlotte Rescue Mission President and CEO Tony Marciano spoke about Graham and the impact his family had on the organization in an interview Tuesday night.

"Everything he did was to point people to the savior," said Marciano.

The rescue is devoted to helping people recover from substance abuse. Marciano said that 65 percent of the people that graduate from the program are still clean and sober six months after graduation. Marciano attributes the program's success to its religious foundation.

"We think identifying that higher power as the grace and love and mercy of Jesus Christ changes a person radically," said Marciano.

Reverend Billy Graham would probably agree with that sentiment. The pastor's family has roots in the Charlotte Rescue Mission. Graham's father, W. Frank Graham, was one of the nine original founders of the rescue.

"Maybe how we do things are a little bit different, but why we do it, sharing the hope of Christ, in 80 years that has never changed," explained the rescue CEO.

Marciano said Billy Graham's sister told him that the 2012 letter from Graham that is mounted in the Dove's Nest may have been the last document her brother ever signed.

Many people gathered at the Billy Graham Library Tuesday night to pay their last respects to the pastor.

"It was very somber, very, very somber," said Annette Kennedy, a visitor from Florida.

The library is just a few miles away from the Dove's Nest.

"We feel privileged to be that close to where he will be laid to rest and grateful for the legacy that he and his father and his family have poured into this organization," said Marciano about Billy Graham.

The Charlotte Rescue Mission isn't the only local organization touched by the Grahams.

The Graham family has also been involved with the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte and the SIM organization.

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