James W. Brawley is an active member of the Knights of Columbus, St. Thomas More Council, Number 2188 in Westwood, N.J., and also shares his time volunteering with the St. Andrew’s Church. He has been involved in numerous activities with the Knights of Columbus, and he serves as a Lector and a member of the Human and Social Concerns Committee at St. Andrew’s. Brawley excels as a servant. He has had a productive life, yet he continues to share so much of himself to anyone who needs assistance.
His day begins by going to the local food stores. There, he collects the day old breads and rolls they will not use. He then takes the time to distribute these items to those who need groceries but cannot afford the same. Brawley is an integral part of the ministry at the Church. He and his workers maintain the church’s food pantry. Weekly, approximately 20 families come to the pantry to receive food for their families.
The church also sponsors a clothing donation, and when fire destroyed the church hall, clothing donations were going to be suspended. There was no place to store all the items; however, Brawley took the donations to his home. Not only did he assist so that the drive was not stopped, but he also did the appropriate research and made the distribution to those who needed the clothing items. In addition to that, whenever he has excess food and/or clothing for local distribution, he transports them to Newark – which is about 30 miles away – to distribute to the homeless in that city.
Though Brawley does not speak Spanish, he is an advocate of the Hispanic population in his community. St. Andrews holds a Spanish Mass on Sunday evenings, and it has a very large attendance. Brawley participates in the Mass and maintains a roster of the families. Any family that has a need is also documented so that he can assist them. Brawley has provided aid in seeking jobs, finding suitable housing for families, as well as food and clothing. During the holidays, he and his group of workers fill numerous boxes with food donations and gifts for the community. His words may not be understood, but all he serves understands his actions, love, and compassion.
James Brawley was born in 1925 and served as a First Lieutenant in the Army Transportation Corps. His is married and has 14 children. Brawley is respected and admired by most people with whom he comes in contact. He is received with love and open arms because he is such a positive part of the community. His volunteer spirit shines through in his everyday ritual and is an example to all.