I received the news this morning (Tuesday, December 12, 2023) that our brother, James Austin has joined the Heavenly choir. I'm rejoicing that he has joined Walter Bass, Gary Burdette, Vern Sullivan, Ben Speer and so many more singing brothers in that choir! Most of all, he's now face-to-face with the Savior he sang so many beautiful songs to while here on earth. Please remember his family, friends, the Social Security Boys and all the others his life had such an impact on in your prayers. His life is a testament to a legacy of most excellent service to his family, his community, his church, and our Savior Jesus Christ with the talents he possessed for sharing the Good News in so many ways. He encouraged and mentored so many of us with his musical abilities that we will continue sharing with others until we join him in the Heavenly choir.

On Saturday morning, July 22, 2023 Gary received his entry into the arms of his Savior, Jesus Christ in Heaven. We're thankful that he was prepared to go there and that he was in hospice care for just over one day! Thank you Lord for not letting Gary suffer for an extended time! That Heavenly choir just keeps getting better every day! One day soon we'll all join him singing the songs the angels cannot sing, if we have been forgiven of our sins and accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior! I believe that would be Gary's wish for each of us to trust Jesus's sacrifice on the cross and resurrection so we could have eternal life with Him when we too leave this world. Gary Burdette's homegoing service will be at 7:00 PM on Thursday, July 27 at Joiner's Funeral Home in Wilson, NC. Visitation will be from 6:00 to 6:45 PM prior to the service. Please remember Gary's family and many friends, including all those he sang with over the years. The Social Security Boys will truly miss his great bass voice singing with us in the days to ahead.

Our brother Walter Bass has entered the gates of that Heavenly city we sing so much about late yesterday afternoon (Monday, July 11, 2022) . Please remember his family, many friends and the Social Security Boys in your prayers. We will all surely miss him and his great tenor voice until we join him in the Heavenly choir. I'm certain his wish would be for you to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior so you will be prepared to join him when you pass into eternity.

About Us

The Social Security Boys are a Southern Gospel quartet currently comprised of Cecil Hinnant, Tim Wells, Ed Little, Mike Runyon and Joe Bailey, five energetic seniors still singing as they have done most of their adult lives. They have remarkably similar backgrounds, having been born and raised on eastern North Carolina farms. Unacquainted with each other at the time, they were intrigued by the sound of The Lone Star Quartet daily on a battery powered radio tuned to WPTF in Raleigh, NC and went back to the fields in the afternoon singing the songs they had heard. The Social Security Boys have been singing together since 2005 and combined, they have over 200 years of singing experience.

Through high school, college, and beyond, they began to sing with various quartets and further developed an appreciation for harmony, all the while being influenced by sounds heard in popular as well as gospel music. Some fans have offered them an unsolicited opinion that some of their harmony is reminiscent of The Mills Brothers.

Although gospel music has remained their paramount interest, each man presents an interesting resume in other areas. Cecil has advanced knowledge in the field of surveying and mapping, and rose to management positions with the Department of Transportation in North Carolina, where he retired after thirty-nine years of service. He has sung tenor for several quartets, the most recent being a late version of The Rangers Quartet. He is an active member of Selma Baptist Church in Selma, NC.

Tim Wells started filling in with the Social Security Boys in May, 2021 after James suffered a minor stroke and has been helping out ever since.  Tim is an active member of Pikes Crossroads Pentecostal Holiness Church in Pikeville, NC.  He is also a long time member of The King's Messengers Qt. who have been singing for over 50 years.

Joe Bailey started filling in with the Social Security Boys when Gary Burdette's health started failing  in early 2023 and has been helping ever since.  Along with Tim Wells, Joe is a member of The King's Messengers Qt. and Pikes Crossroads Pentecostal Holiness Church in Pikeville, NC

Edward Little (Ed) retired from the Johnston County Sheriff's Department as a Captain.  He began working with the  group in early 2022 as a sound engineer and has begun singing on every program since last Spring.  Ed is an active member of Princeton Church.  We are truly blessed to have him sharing his talents with us.

Mike Runyon is originally from Man, WV and was brought to North Carolina via the U.S. Air Force in 1987. He served in the Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991 in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  He moved to Clayton, NC after serving and has called it home ever since.  He is a member of Princeton Church where he serves as the Tenor Section Leader for their choir and also serves on the Church and Pastors Council.  Mike loves the Lord and Southern Gospel Music.  He started with the group in March 2023.

Former members James Austin, Walter Bass and Gary Burdette have now joined original founding member Vern Sullivan who went on to his ultimate reward on March 31, 2012 where we believe he may be sitting on the front porch of his mansion on Rainbow Avenue and occasionally tuning in to The Social Security Boys as they sing some of the songs he wrote. During his work career he was a parole officer and once held an administrative position with The Atomic Energy Commission. During the late nineteen-sixties and early seventies he pursued a career in popular music on the West Coast. His goals and objectives changed and in the mid nineteen-seventies he began to write songs about his new found Christian faith. At various times, Vern was a member of quartets that included some currently recognized personalities including McCray Dove, Tim Riley and Ed O'Neal. All four of his songs recorded by professional male quartets have been chart breakers and one of those four (Rainbow Avenue) was nominated Southern Gospel song of the year. The Social Security Boys have recorded fifteen of his songs.