Pastor teaches classes at school, prison
Monday, April 8, 2002
ANNA, Ill. -- The Rev. Herman C. Lawrence conducts services and Bible studies Sunday morning and Tuesday evening at the minimum security work camp in Tamms, Ill.
The rest of the week, he works with students at the Sandusky Christian School in Sandusky, Ill., a few miles south of Tamms.
In his spare time, Lawrence of Anna is a board member of the Vienna, Ill., Hospitality House, a renovated hotel that ministers to prisoners' families, and the Anna Haven House. He has pastored at Methodist churches in Anna.
"I like to keep busy," said Lawrence, who retired from Shawnee Community College in 1995 after 25 years with the school. "I enjoy working with the prisoners at the minimum security camp at Tamms, and I love children."
Between the two facilities, Lawrence puts in more than 40 hours a week.
Lawrence, a native of Arkansas, worked in school districts at Doniphan and Chaffee in Missouri before starting his 25-year career at Shawnee College.
He's at the Sandusky school four days a week, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. He said, "I probably put in about 10 hours a week at the prison."
Lawrence was recently selected as "Volunteer of the Year" at the Tamms Correctional Center.
He has been volunteering his services there since the facility opened in June 1995.
"Lawrence has demonstrated a genuine effort to provide volunteer services to all people," said George Wellborn, warden of the Tamms Supermax Prison. "We opened our minimum security camp here in 1995, and Lawrence was one of the original volunteers to provide services here. He's stuck with us all this time."
Lawrence's help is so important at the minimum camp, said Welborn.
"A lot of these guys are preparing to go home, and Lawrence has been great, providing counseling and preparing them to return to the outside world," he said.
Helps those in need
He helps anyone in need, whether it's in Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, Texas, Mexico or Romania, whether through devotional work, lending a hand in preparing meals, or rolling up his sleeves to do minor repairs for those in need, said Welborn.
Lawrence has provided care for people in Tamms, Sandusky and around the world.
He has volunteered his services in Romania, where he installed washing machines in orphanages; in Mexico where he volunteered at a free clinic in Colina; in Texas serving at an evangelist cookout; and in Cape Girardeau where he worked with Teen Challenge, repairing air conditioners and other appliances.
In general, Lawrence tries to assist anyone in need, said Welborn.
"Why not," said Lawrence. "I'm retired, I don't need more money, and I enjoy doing what I can to help others."
Lawrence's wife, Elizabeth, is a registered nurse, and works at the Veterans Home in Anna.
The Lawrences have lived in Anna 28 years.