Raleigh County road renamed for WV singer Bill Withers

West Virginia

FILE – This April 18, 2015 file photo shows singer-songwriter Bill Withers speaking at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cleveland. Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including “Lean On Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” died in Los Angeles from heart complications on Monday, March 30, 2020. He was 81. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A road in Raleigh County is getting renamed in honor of a local icon.

The West Virginia Division of Highways says a new sign was installed Thursday, May 20, renaming Slab Fork Road in honor of Bill Withers, a native of Raleigh County.

The West Virginia Legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution 20 in April to officially rename the Slab Fork Road between the Lester Highway and the Coalfields Expressway as “Bill Withers Memorial Road” in memory of the late singer.

“Like Governor Justice always says, we’ve all got to pull the rope together,” said Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Jimmy Wriston. “Our people take a lot of pride in putting the signs up when we have a road naming. That was especially true of this one because of the way Bill Withers’ songs resonate with our workers. The uplifting messages in some of his songs really helped us get through the last year we’ve had.”

Withers who died March 30, 2020, of heart complications, is best known for writing and recording hit songs including “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Wriston says Withers’ hit song “Lean on Me” exemplifies the way West Virginians work together in difficult times.

“A song like ‘Lean on Me’ really exemplifies that,” said Wriston. “This is West Virginia and we pull together; that’s just what we do.”

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