Giants’ Butler always put the Lord #1
James Butler was the center of attention Sunday evening as his family and friends gathered at Bainbridge Faith Temple Ministry Church in West Bainbridge to watch him and his New York Giants teammates defeat the previously undefeated New England Patriots 17-14 in the Super Bowl.
Signs supporting Butler, the Giants starting strong safety who wears No. 37, were prominently displayed around the church.
One read “We’re proud of our Super Guy” and another read “A Super Day for a Super Guy.”
Still another read “Number 37 rocks, James Butler Jr., we’re proud of you.”
As everyone entered the church, family and friends signed a huge poster expressing their love and support of Butler.
Butler, a Climax native and former Bainbridge High School Bearcat All-Region 1AAAA and Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) performer, led the Giants in tackles Sunday with nine. He also made the All-Academic ACC team at Georgia Tech.
James’ uncle, the Rev. Donnell Butler, pastor of the Kingdom of New Life Ministries Church at 400 Miller Ave., remembers James as a very disciplined and mature youngster while growing up in Climax.
“I knew James had a lot of athletic ability, but when he was a child, I always thought his future would be in basketball,” the Rev. Butler said. “There was a basketball goal in the yard, and he would go out there and shoot a lot.
“I told James last summer that this was going to be his year and I really believed that. We have a football background in our family. I was a halfback, and my brother, James’ father, was a defensive back at Westside High School in Valdosta.”
James’ aunt Marjorie McNair, known to everyone at Greater Mount Calvary Holiness Church as Mother McNair, said her nephew always took his obligation as a role model for young kids seriously.
“He always took up time with kids and told them to obey their parents and study hard,” she said.
James’ uncle, James Hall Jr., said James always put the Lord No. 1 and loved his Christian faith.
“When he called his mother, who is my sister, following the Giants’ National Football Conference (NFC) championship game victory over the Green Bay Packers, he asked her to have a prayer with him before they talked about that game or the upcoming Super Bowl,” he said. “That’s the kind of person he is.”
Also expressing pride in her famous relative Sunday was James’ first cousin, Jacqueline Harris.
“James has made all of his family proud,” Harris said. “He is one of the most humble and caring people you will find anywhere. He loves us all and we love him.”
Chip Ariail, one of James’s first coaches at Hutto Middle School and a Climax resident, is trying to organize a reception or parade for him in Climax when he returns.