Former Bradyite causes stir with PA incident

When former Bradyite James Timms heard that President George W. Bush had proclaimed Friday, Sept. 14 as a National Day of Prayer in memory of those who perished in the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., he took it to heart. During pre-game ceremonies at a Grape Creek football game that evening, he asked the public address announcer in the press box for the microphone and proceeded to lead the crowd in The Lord’s Prayer. A federal court ruling last year had prohibited prayer before high school football games. Timms, a former Brady Bulldog football star, who went on to start four years as a linemen for the Angelo State University Rams, told the Standard-Herald Monday morning, “Something just came over me, and I was compelled to lead everyone in the prayer.” He continued by saying, “When the country’s commander-in-chief says for us to pray, I feel we should pray.” A former Grape Creek school board member, Timms said he had not talked with the school superintendent Don Ickles since the incident. Ickles was quoted in last Friday’s edition of the San Angelo Standard-Times as calling the situation “a breach in our security,” saying admission in the press box is for authorized individuals only. He said that administration members were on the field assisting with a planned program in which students were going to honor the men and women who had lost their lives in the terrorist attacks and those who were risking theirs in rescue efforts. According to newspaper reports, there was only one district employee in the press box when Timms, a rather large man at 6-2, 245 pounds, asked for the microphone. Timms, who is married to the former Janice Bradshaw of Brady, the daughter of Dick and Johnnie Bradshaw, has three children, two of which are students in Grape Creek schools. He calls the Bradshaws his “adopted parents.” “I felt the game crowd needed some direction; that was my intent. I was just overwhelmed by the moment,” he told the Standard-Herald. Timms said the announcer denied his request at first, but then handed over the microphone. Timms said fans from the home team, as well as those fans from Coahoma, immediately joined in. “The visitors didn’t only join in, they applauded,” he said. Timms told the local newspaper that he played for Paul Jette while he was a Brady Bulldog. “I love Coach Jette. He is a wonderful person,” he said. An active member of the Grape Creek Baptist Church, Timms, an education major at ASU, teaches a Bible study and is active in the choir with his wife. At age 42, he started a small business, Environmental Systems, selling industrial chemicals, in 1987. Ickles said strict security measures will be in place at Grape Creek’s next home game. Locks will be put on the press box doors, passes will be issued and a full-time administrator will be put in charge. He said an unauthorized person in the press box could be dangerous. Timms said he felt it was unfortunate that the superintendent took opposition to his actions. Another former Bradyite hailed Timms’ action in a letter to the editor that was published Sept. 22 in the Standard-Times. Written by Tipton Ross, it praised Timms for being a “true man of God.” “I didn’t even read it,” Timms said Monday. “I don’t read the San Angelo newspaper,” he said. In part, Ross, who was a year behind Timms at Brady High, said that “our country needs more men of honor like James, and I am proud of him for leading the Lord’s Prayer at the Grape Creek football game.”

Leave a Comment