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Photo of Chaplain Ben Maxedon awarding the 2017 Saints in Light Award to Tom Morton. Photo submitted.

Photo from the 2016 Meeting mentioned below.
Tom Morton Honored with 2017 Saints in Light Award
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - Prayer Power of Georgia Inc. accepts nominations from the community for the “Saints in Light” award each year. This award is presented an individual who is serving in our community in a way that is spiritually inspiring, motivating to others, and who has an influence of encouragement in our community.

The nomination is awarded to someone who loves the community and loves helping people in the community that they come in contact with, and that love is an inspiration to others to do the same. Chaplain Ben Maxedon presented Tom Morton with the Saints in Light award at the June morning meeting of the Pike County Commission.

History of Helping Others

Tom Morton was the guest speaker for the Pike County Ministerial Association last fall. When he spoke, it was clear that he was living out his convictions in his life. “I feel very strongly that those who are Christians have a responsibility to help serve their fellow man in all capacities,” he told the group. He went on to say that leading a life that is rewarding for fellow man was his concern.

He had been asked why he was an attorney in a meeting prior to this Ministerial meeting. He told the person who asked that he had been born and raised in the church and was thankful to those who had influenced him to lead a clean, wholesome life—his Mom and Dad, Sunday School teacher, pastor, Uncle and Aunt. He was torn between a call to the ministry and being an attorney.

But he’d made up his mind at the age of five to be an attorney and that was reinforced by a question, How can you be an attorney and a Christian? “That was the crux of why I decided to be an attorney,” he said. “I felt God’s calling to me to set an example as an attorney rather than going into the ministry.”

Tom told how he had been invited to be a part of California Governor Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet and had to turn it down for family reasons, and he said that he has interacted with presidents in his political experience. And throughout it all, he made a point to be straight forward and honest. “I am satisfied that I stood tall in my profession,” he said.

During that meeting, he reminded the Ministerial Association that the Great Commission is performing an action to go and recommended using the word “go” in policies and programs as a reminder that the calling of Jesus Christ in our lives is to go and that includes in this community. He also suggested a goal to help people put the positive in their minds instead of the negative because there is so much negative in the world today.

He said that we need to be accountable for representing God in today’s society. As a mayor three times of the city of Downey, California with a population of 100,000, he attended meetings and took his Bible with him. It spoke for itself, he said. Tom also said that he tried to set an example with his life and hoped that the Ministerial Association would do the same.

Tom even wrote a paper in 1970 entitled, “The Church Cooperating with City Government.” In it, he challenged the church and city government to work together for the good of those in the community and emphasized that we need to be a positive counterbalance against the negatives that are part of society. That sounds a lot like what Tom is doing in his own life in both his home life and his community and public service, doesn’t it?

Tom’s History

Tom Morton was honored by the Pike Board of Commissioners of Pike County on November 9, 2016 for his service to our country, our community and his profession as well as the outstanding character he has displayed throughout his life. At the time, Tom had 94 years of history and wisdom to share with others. He has recently turned 95 and continues to share his knowledge, wit, and kindness with those around him.

Here is a bit of Tom’s life history.

You can see the family photos from this meeting at: www.Pikecountytimes.com/secondary/BOC11.9.16.html. Here is the proclamation from the November 9, 2016 meeting in its entirety:

WHEREAS, Thomas H. Morton was born on May 29, 1922 to Lydia Ann Shuttleworth Morton and Russell Neely Morton in Fall River, Massachusetts and raised in New York City.

WHEREAS, He graduated from Public School 134, Hollis, New York in 1937 and Jamaica High School, Jamaica, New York in 1941. Tom attended Mercer University and Walter F. George, School of Law in Macon, Georgia where he graduated in 1949 with an AB Degree as well as a Law Degree. He was a post graduate of George Washington University in Labor and international law, Judge Advocate General’s School, University of Virginia, received a graduate certificate in Government, Military and Contract Law, certificate in urban unrest and local government; University of Southern California, ABA Certificate in Modern Real Estate Transactions.

WHEREAS, Married Mary Elizabeth Mowell, Decatur, Georgia, April 10, 1942, they were freshman together at Mercer University. Mary passed away from cancer and he is now married to Sonya D. Morton. Tom and Mary have four children, Thomas H. Morton, Jr., Cherry Lynn Morton (deceased), Janice Gail Morton, and Robert Lamar Morton.

WHEREAS, In his younger days Tom was active in the following sports: Sailing, Basketball, Track, Boxing, Bowling, Handball, Tennis, Golf, Volleyball; with the first six being in competition. He was also in Drama (College-Radio), Singing (Choir and choral solo) and was a Boy Scout where he played the drum in a Boy Scout Bugle and Drum Corps.

WHEREAS, Tom served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-1045, TM2C and the U.S. Army from 1949-1955, Captain. He was involved with 5 major campaigns, 29 engagements with the enemy and holder of Eight Battle Stars WW11 while in the Navy.

WHEREAS, Tom holds the following Decorations: Recipient of the Navy Ribbon of Commendation for Valor in the battle of Okinawa – WW11, Recipient of the Letter of Commendation – U.S. Army for negotiating an agreement with the French and Arab Governments for establishing Air Force bases in North Africa (was the sole US Attorney), Recipient of the Letter of Commendation - U.S. Army – Judge Advocate General’s School, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, Recipient of the Letter of Commendation – U.S. Army for establishing the Procurement Division at the Judge Advocate Generals School. He also is the recipient of the following Campaign Ribbons: National Defense Service Medal, Asiatic – Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the American Campaign Medal.

WHEREAS, Tom was admitted to practice law in 1949 in the following courts: Georgia State, Supreme Court, Georgia State Court of Appeals, Superior Court of Georgia, U.S. Court of Military Appeals, U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, U.S. District Courts (Northern District and Middle District) and on a case-by- case basis, he was admitted, Pro Hac Vice in California, Massachusetts, Washington, Minnesota, Maine, Ohio, Illinois, Florida and Idaho. Tom opened his first law office in 1949 in Douglasville, Georgia. In 1950 was commissioned in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army ( as an Attorney), in 1955 joined the law department of Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, his area of responsibility included 10 Western States and 3 Eastern States. In 1985 he joined the law firm of Belcher, Henzie & Biegenahn in Los Angeles, California as a Senior member of the Firm. In 1991 he became a law partner in the law firm of Crawford and Morton in Zebulon, GA. After his son Robert L. Morton was admitted to the practice of law, Tom founded the law firm of Morton, Morton & Associates in Zebulon, Georgia.

WHEREAS, In addition Tom became the City Attorney for the Cities of Zebulon and Meansville, Georgia. He also served as County Attorney for Spalding County and Meriwether County. Tom is currently the County Attorney for Pike County. Georgia. He has handled legal matters in every state except Vermont and has also handled legal matters in Zurich, Switzerland, Canada and for a corporation in Japan.

WHEREAS, Tom has served his community well in the various places he has lived and has received recognition from many organizations for a job well done. He also had his own newspaper column, authored a three-act play and written poetry. Tom has traveled all over the United States as well as England, Scotland, Wales, France, Portugal, French Morocco, Canada, Mexico, Australia and the Philippines.

WHEREAS, Tom’s church affiliation is Southern Baptist, he was ordained as a Deacon in 1954 at the University Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, ordained as a Southern Baptist Minister in Georgia, served as chairman of the Deacons for 32 years at Trinity Baptist Church in Downey, California and at the First Baptist Church in Downey, California. He also served as a Deacon at Bethany Baptist Church in Bellflower, California and at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Molena, Georgia. He currently serves as organizer, Director and Instructor for both the Los Angeles Southern Baptist Seminary Extension Center and of the National Negro Baptist Seminary Extension Center.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of Pike County that on November 9, 2016, the Pike County Board of Commissioners recognize and honor Thomas H. Morton for the service to our country, our community and his profession as well as the outstanding character he has displayed throughout his life.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Proclamation is to be spread upon the minutes of the proceedings of this Board to memorialize this occasion and express our sincere appreciation.

Chairman, J. Briar Johnson (L.S.) County Manager, John Hanson (L.S.)


Tom currently serves at the county attorney for the Pike County Commission along with his son Rob. They have been serving the county for longer than the ten years Pike County Times has been in operation. Tom has also been the City Attorney for Zebulon and Meansville since 1992. And he is always gracious and willing to help others in any way that he can.

Here are links to previous articles on this honor.

2016 Elaine Mangham

2015 Trisha Dabbs

2014 Sam and Johnnie Glass