Chaplain James Britt has comforted patients and families at The Medical Center at Bowling Green for more than three decades, and now his name is a permanent part of the organization.
The community surprised Britt on Monday by unveiling the prayer room at the Hospitality House’s new name: Chaplain James Britt Prayer Room.
“This is an honor, a blessing. I’m honored by this,” Britt said through tears, adding that he was told to drop by the Hospitality House that day to visit a patient. “I didn’t know I was visiting so many people.”
A crowd gathered to support Britt, who has visited, prayed with and comforted patients and workers for 34 years. Britt’s daughter and son-in-law, Beth and David Bradford, and a friend, Covella Biggers, donated a total of $100,000 to Hospitality House and requested that the prayer room be named for Britt.
“It’s just in honor of a giant among men – one of the greatest men I know,” David Bradford said. “It’s just ... a very appropriate place for his name to last forever.”
Britt, who was a pastor before serving as a hospital chaplain, began consoling patients in 1978 when he worked as a full-time chaplain at the former city-county hospital.
He has encountered his share of tough situations, such as the sudden deaths of children. But he has also formed many, meaningful relationships, he told the Daily News.
“I’m just proud of the work and ministry of The Medical Center,” he said. “We have a great staff, caring people, and it’s just a joy to visit and see the staff and the people who come.”
The Hospitality House opened more than a year ago as a place for families and caregivers to stay when visiting patients who are hospitalized for an extended period of time. With 12 private guest rooms, it’s a service for many out-of-town visitors – so far, it has served people from 49 counties, 32 states and four countries.
And the prayer room – now the Chaplain James Britt Prayer Room – is an important part of the organization, hospital officials say.
“When you find you have an illness in your family, there’s a spiritual need that typically needs to be met,” said Cristi Pruitt, vice president of accounting and corporate controller for Commonwealth Health Corp., the parent company of The Medical Center.
It’s “befitting,” Pruitt said, to name the room after a man who has dedicated decades to prayer for the patients and family of the hospital.
“I’ve just been doing what I’ve been called to do,” Britt said, as a long line of people waited to embrace him.