“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
When health is lost, something is lost;
When character is lost, all is lost.”
— Billy Graham
My wife, June, and I just returned last week from Charlotte, North Carolina, where we attended the funeral honoring the life of the Rev. Billy Graham. To me, the occasion marked the passing of an era. Rev. Graham and his wife Ruth were long time friends of my parents and I can personally attest to his unflagging integrity through his many years in ministry. My father met Rev. Graham at his crusade in Miami in 1963. Years later when my father was president of the Orange Bowl Committee in 1980, Rev. Graham gave the invocation at my father’s request. My parent’s friendship with the Grahams eventually led to them buying a second home in Black Mountain next to Montreat, North Carolina, where the Grahams resided. I remember sitting in the Graham living room in front of the fireplace of their log cabin as a college student. I’ll never forget Rev. Graham inviting me to come back and spend a weekend with him and his wife at the cabin, and I thought what a great invitation that was and that I should call him and follow up on that! One of the greatest regrets of my life was that I never did follow up and place that phone call.
I remember Rev. Graham saying his greatest fear was doing anything that would discredit the Lord. Because of that, his integrity was his hallmark. It is also a value that he and my father shared and a value that my father passed on to me, and that I in turn endeavor to pass on to my children. It is also a value that I try to instill in our company. My father always believed that if no other real estate company in Miami would tell the truth, we would be the real estate company that did. He felt that it was both the right thing to do and it was good business. Of course, we would lose some transactions and be hurt by some who do not hold those same values, but we would always do better in the long term and people would seek us out because they knew they could trust us. It’s as true today as it was then.
In this one-minute video in celebrating The Allen Morris Company’s 60th Anniversary, I share this part of my father’s story: