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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Couple honored by federal prison system

Thursday, May 27, 2010

For close to 40 years, Gene and Luanne Woodcox have taken time to share the word of God with prison inmates.

Recently, the Brazil pair were honored with the 2010 Attorney General's Citizen Volunteer Service award.

"We have volunteered at the federal prisons for a little over 38 years," Gene said.

He said Bible study and individual counseling are their main focus with the inmates.

"Our schedule varies," he said, adding they visit the three prisons in the Terre Haute area a couple times of week, when "the schedules all hold up." They also share with inmates at the Putnamville Correctional Facility.

"My wife and I have done different things at different times according to what there was to do and what they would allow us to do," he added.

Gene is an ordained minister through New Hope Prison Ministries. Both are members of Berea Christian Church and they minister at other state institutions and facilities around the nation.

He said he conducts a 12-step Christian program as well.

"We've done this for several years," Gene said. "It helps men to work on major issues in their life.

"Our goal is to help the men come to know Christ and turn their life over to him to live the abundant life that He promises," he added.

The Bible study is all volunteer, Gene said, adding the study at the Putnamville is rather large and takes place Monday evenings.

"We probably average 60-70 people in that group," he said.

Currently, the majority of the study groups are smaller now than they were previously.

After learning they were receiving the award, Gene said he was humbled.

"I was happy about it," he said. "We were excited about it to be recognized that we've been there that long."

Gene founded the New Hope Prison Ministry in the 1970s as a non-profit charitable organization. The ministry, he said, is supported by individuals and Christian churches.

"In our ministry, over the years, we've invited people in to do evangelistic revivals," he said. "At one time, we did tent revivals at the prison in Terre Haute where we would have ministers come to share."

Since starting the ministry, it has evolved into a "team ministry," Gene said.

"(The inmates) see a couple that's been married for 55 years and see us communicate with each other," he said. "It's an example for them.

"It's always exciting when someone comes to know that Jesus is the Christ and gives their life over to Him. That is the only solution to people who are incarcerated. They have a renewed life. They act differently."

The duo were honored with a ceremony in Terre Haute last week and now have an option to be honored again later this year in Washington, D.C.

However, Gene said he and his wife are still debating whether they will attend that ceremony.

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Wow, what a great honor for a wonderful blessed couple. Well deserved. Congratulations.

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Fri, May 28, 2010, at 6:34 AM

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