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Thursday, March 20, 2014
North Augusta Baptist Church had a special guest at its service on Sunday.
The Honorable Ambassador Theodore Britton Jr., a North Augusta native who won the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to those who trained as part of the Montford Point Marines, told stories and shared laughs with the assembled church members.
“The last time I was in this church for a service was almost 88 years ago,” the 89-year-old said. “The little building next door was my school; the first four grades gathered down there. Of course it has been spruced up a bit.”
Britton joked that it took a long time for him to come back. He lived in “Blue Heaven,” an area of town owned by George Briggs, and was baptized at the church. He was invited back by the Rev. Martin Ryan, along with the Heritage Council of North Augusta.
“I have to admit that four years ago, I had never heard of the Montford Point Marines or Ambassador Theodore Britton,” Brenda Baratto, president of the Heritage Council, said. “In 2012 there was an article that I read about Mr. Calvin Jones, who now lives in Augusta but was from North Augusta. ... Immediately I called my good friend, and historian, Wayne O'Briant.”
She also recalled when she spent three-and-a-half hours on Peachtree Street in Atlanta with Britton.
“To listen to the stories, courage, humor and dignity of a life spent in the service of other people was truly remarkable,” she said. “If I have to do a recounting of the most remarkable 24 hours of my life, those three-and-a-half hours would be in that category.”
Baratto also said that the council will have a bus tour in July that will feature the local churches of North Augusta, with North Augusta Baptist being one of the stops on the tour.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers. Editor's note: This version of this story has been updated to correct the misidentification of Britton's Congressional Gold Medal. The North Augusta Star regrets the error.