During a Dec. 9 banquet, AMVETS named Townsend, 78, of Cheraw, as its local chapter's AMVET of the year.
AMVETS, or American Veterans, is an organization assisting United States military veterans and families.
Townsend served his country for a combined 30 years as a chaplain in the U.S. Army and National Guard.
He graduated seminary school as a Methodist and received a commission in the U.S. Army in 1961 and entered Vietnam working well within friendly territory.
"I felt like that would have been a form of ministry I could do ," Townsend said. "It gave me an opportunity to have experiences beyond my local parish. I've seen places I would have never seen and people I would never met if I never would have joined."
Townsend's time in a overseas war zone was spent well-behind friendly lines Cam Ranh Bay.
"As a chaplain, according to the Geneva Convention, I was a non-combatant and did not carry a weapon. I didn't shoot at anybody and nobody shot at me," he said.
During his stay in Vietnam, Townsend administrated church services offering familiarity to soldiers, if not just a slight feeling of home, comfort and safety.
Townsend left active military duty in 1974; during his time working for Uncle Sam, he spent over two years in Okinawa, three years in Germany and throughout the states on a number of army posts.
Townsend continued to serve as a Methodist minister serving in churches in South Carolina; he ultimately retired from the church.