Pee Dee Church celebrates a pioneer in the Florence community

A church in the Pee Dee celebrated a milestone for a pioneer in their community Sunday.

The congregation of Monumental Missionary Baptist Church in Florence honored their minister, Reverend Doctor Vandroth Backus for his 88 birthday.

Backus is well known as serving as the first black police officer in Florence, serving on the Florence County Council, and serving in World War II with the Marines.

"I don't feel important," said Backus. "I feel humbled the Lord allowed me to serve."

Even though Backus has accomplished so much, he has one more thing on his bucket list. He wants to pay the debt off on the church he founded.

"This is a project of extreme sacrifice and sacrifice of my family," said Backus.

The congregation of the Monumental Missionary Baptist Church is striving to help their minister achieve his goal.

"We can do it probably within the next year to two years," said member Marchell Mcallister.

No matter if the goal is reached, Backus hopes he's left an imprint on generations to come.

"As long as we keep on, in spite of difficulty, put one foot in front of the other and not let defeat stop us. We'll make it," said Backus.

Reverend Backus says he'll continue to preach as long as he's alive.