He also looked for unique ways to help others at home.
With his son, Jim, and friend, the late Lester Massey, he started a non-denominational men’s Sunday school class to create a relaxed environment for Christian fellowship and studying God’s word.
And with the men who became members of that class the Humor on the Square fundraiser began, an event organized to raise money for the Red Door Kitchen, a meals-on-wheels program with volunteers who deliver about 3,000 hot lunches each month.
On the road, Townsend was Talladega’s unofficial ambassador to the nation, telling homespun stories about his hometown wherever he went. He joked that when he met someone who had been to Talladega, he knew that they probably “were a race fan, had been to a conference at Shocco Springs, or had an uncle doing hard time” at the federal prison here.
And he took special pride in being from the South, especially after he discovered what that meant to people in other parts of the country.
“They’ll pay to hear us talk,” he joked.
It’s no surprise that he was once recognized by the Chamber of Commerce as Talladega’s Citizen of the Year, among other accolades he received before his untimely death last year.
His friends in the Whosoever Will Sunday School Class are carrying on with Humor on the Square with a special tribute to Bryan being paid by some of the people who knew him best — the other speakers he worked with through a group called the Platform Professionals.
Eight speakers are coming to Talladega’s Ritz Theatre June 28 to donate their time in a performance in Townsend’s honor. It’s being talked about as “$50,000 worth of talent for a $20 ticket,” and it’s sure to be a night to remember.
It’s quite a tribute to Townsend, and all for a good cause.
We appreciate the legacy Townsend left his hometown and commend all those helping to make this event happen.