Dale Schiele and his friends

Dale Schiele, left, is seen at Little Red River Park on Saturday talking to a well-wisher during a celebration of his soft retirement from prison ministry and rehabilitation work with high-risk sex offenders who have been released from prison

While many people might scoff at or otherwise distance themselves from high-risk registered sex offenders, Dale Schiele has welcomed them as friends for the past 31-years.

“It’s a restorative work,” he said of the friendships. “We’re looking at crime from a restorative perspective instead of locking them up and throwing away the key.

“It’s a catalyst to promote healing with the offender … We’re reducing the harm to the community.”

On Saturday, Schiele celebrated his retirement from director of the Grace Mennonite Church’s Person-to-Person program — a volunteer-based prison ministry made up of two parts.

One part is visiting high-risk registered sex offenders who have been released, providing them with friendship and a reliable sounding board.

“It gives them a sense of belonging, and everybody needs a sense of belonging,” Schiele said.

“It’s in isolation and particularly during times of stress that lots of fellows will re-offend.”

The other part of Person-to-Person is made up of prison visits to those at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary who don’t typically receive guests.

“Sometimes at Christmas time when I go into their cells, all I see is the Person to Person Christmas card we’d sent them, so that jus tells you the need for friendship that’s there,” Schiele said.

“Most of us cannot appreciate the number of friends and warm contacts we have in the community.

“Friendship is something that we all take for granted on the outside, but it’s a valued commodity for these guys on the inside.”

Celebrating Schiele’s retirement during a get-together at Little Red River Park on Saturday, Person-to-Person volunteer Ed Olfert said that Schiele’s boots will be difficult to fill.

“Dale is a guy with a very gentle persona, and he brings that together with a tremendous respect and an offer of friendship to everyone he meets,” Olfert said.

Friendship is something that we all take for granted on the outside, but it’s a valued commodity for these guys on the inside.– Dale Schiele

“He’s very much the person of God that he presents, and as a result of that he’s tremendously loved and tremendously respected.”

The Christian angle is an important one, Schiele said, because the Person-to-Person efforts represent what the Bible implores all Christians to do.

“Motivation to do this kind of work is often found among Christians — In Matthew 25, where Jesus speaks of ‘I was in prison and you came to visit me,’” Schiele said.

“It’s these people who have taken that commandment of Jesus seriously and have reached out and become the … salt of the earth and who have done the things he has advised them to do.”

Working under the motto “No more Victims,” their work appears to be paying off, Olfert said.

“I’ve seen lives being changed — people learning to live well and with integrity,” he said. “It changes people more than anything I’ve ever seen.

“I have six grandchildren and I feel a strong responsibility to leave the world in a little better of a place, and it feels right that I do that through the perspective that Dale has modeled, through respective relationships rather than more prisons and more guns and more guards.”

Although Schiele is retiring as Person-to-Person director after 31 years, he insists that he’s sticking around.

“I will probably do this work for the rest of my life in some capacity, as a volunteer,” he said.

Person-to-Person is always on the lookout for more volunteers, with more volunteers resulting in more results.

Those interested in volunteering can call Prince Albert Grace Mennonite Church pastor Ryan Siemens at 764-4342.

Jacquie Prielipp perceived high award

The Leesville Rotary Club respected Jacquie Prielipp, a clergyman during South Polk Elementary School, with a non-Rotarian Service Above Self award, an respect given to a member of a village who exemplifies a Rotary sign of “service above self.”

In further to teaching, Prielipp is a member of a Kairos Prison Ministry, a pianist for a Vernon Middle School Chorale Ensemble, organist for a Vernon Parish Community Choir, and an active member of a United Methodist Women.

Carter Wampler and his ministry

Wampler, 57, from Winter Haven, has spent a past 3 years in and out of prisons, though not as an inmate. He works for Bill Glass Champions for Life, perplexing to lead wayward, bleeding souls to Jesus.

When we die, “we can’t take income or element things with us,” Wampler said. “The customarily thing we can take with us is other people.”

Wampler and his colleagues revisit jail inmates in Florida and a southeastern U.S. in a well-choreographed show. It starts with a approach of motorcycles roving around a fringe of a prison. The bikes are driven — aloud — customarily by ex-convicts who have seen a light and have altered their ways.

Next is a rope personification stone ‘n’ roll, southern rock, Jimi Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynard, whatever, in a jail yard. The varying song has a common thread: It’s shrill and guaranteed to pull a crowd.

The next-to-last step is for someone, customarily an contestant or a former athlete, to speak about a reason for all a hoopla. Hundreds of athletes have testified about Christ before vast groups of inmates. But a one Wampler recalls many vividly is universe powerlifting champion James Henderson, improved known, for good reason, as “Big James.”

Henderson, 45 was lifted in Lake Wales and lives in Miami. In a 1990s, Henderson won 5 uninterrupted dais press universe titles from a International Powerlifting Federation.

But before he became a winner, Henderson was convicted in 1989 of drug trafficking and deterrent of probity and was condemned to 50 years in prison. After portion 3 years, he was paroled. He after was pardoned.

While during Rivers State Prison in Georgia, he review a Bible, and became a clinging Christian, and, Wampler said, a energetic orator who tells inmates it’s never too late for redemption.

“The male is 6 feet 5 and he’s gotta import 400 pounds,” Wampler said. “When Big James talks, everybody listens.”

The final pierce is for a orator to indicate out Champions for Life “associates” or “team members” in a crowd, during that indicate inmates proceed a associates, or clamp versa.

“I customarily try to find a biggest, baddest dude in there,” Wampler said. “If we can speak to him, we can speak to anyone.”

The whole purpose, Wampler said, is to move inmates to Jesus.

Bill Glass Champions for Life was started in 1972 by Glass, a standout defensive finish for a Detroit Lions and a Cleveland Browns from 1958 to 1968.

It’s Jesus and Glass who merit credit for a ministry, “not me,” Wampler said.


Carter Wythe Wampler was innate Oct. 27, 1954, in Martinsville, Va., to Ebbie and Peggy Wampler. He was their second child and has 3 brothers and a sister.

Wampler grew adult in Galax, Va., in what he described as a Mayberry-like atmosphere. “It’s not too distant from Mount Pilot, where we infrequently visited,” he said. “Nobody sealed their doors.”

Wampler pronounced he had a smashing childhood. His father was a seat manufacturer deputy and customarily was on a highway on weekdays. “And my mom was a saint,” Wampler said.

“We played, we swam in a YMCA pool and we went to church,” Wampler said. Wampler had a paper route, and infrequently baled grain for farmers. One year-round consistent was athletics, especially football, basketball and track.

Wampler was a football linebacker, where his pursuit was “to take people out.” He pronounced his basketball pursuit was to play defense, to miscarry and not to do anything foolish with a ball.

He graduated from Bassett High School in 1973 and spent his high propagandize years in a midst of scattered times for a country, and some perplexing times locally with propagandize integration.

He pronounced that before a schools were integrated, customarily a handful of black kids went to his high school, and a other circuitously high school, George Washington Carver, was 100 percent black.

Wampler pronounced he’d seen how black people were treated during places like a internal nation club, where a customarily approach they could get inside was to work there or to be partial of a entertainment.

There was no protesting that process or many magnetism for those who were excluded. “That’s usually a approach it was,” Wampler said.

Wampler pronounced he supposed propagandize integration, as did many of a students. But there was some resistance, he said.

He stopped personification football during Emory and Henry College, where he satisfied that notwithstanding being a large guy, “my physique wasn’t meant to hit with somebody who outweighs me by 50 pounds.” He did play a year of basketball and ran lane for 4 years.

Wampler has coached kids’ sports for many all of his operative life.

Wampler came to Winter Haven in 1977 to work as a manufacturer’s repute for Pulaski Furniture.

He met his wife, Holly, during Christie’s Sundown Restaurant, and for him, it was adore during initial sight.

The Wamplers married in 1988.

They have dual daughters and dual sons. Their daughter Jessica Ann, 21, was innate with a cognitive training incapacity and heart problems. Wampler pronounced she has been a source of challenge, inspiration, mindfulness and humility.

Wampler acknowledges some of his daughter’s tribulations, though doesn’t go into good fact about them.

Jessica Ann now attends a Polk County Schools transitory module during a University of South Florida Lakeland Campus. She is training skills she hopefully can parlay into a job.

“Jessica Ann is one of a loves of a life. We have 3 some-more and we adore them all dearly,” Wampler said. “She has done us some-more common and she has done us adore God more.”


Kim Cassell, a organisation member of Champions for Life from Georgia, pronounced he mostly goes into prisons with Wampler “to share a good news.”

“Carter has a heart for a slightest of these people,” Cassell said. “He’s not judgmental though he is really compassionate.

“We grin sometimes,” Cassell said. “We’re perplexing to mangle into jail while a inmates are perplexing to get out.”

Wampler pronounced he mostly is questioned by inmates and infrequently he can’t yield decisive answers. Once, a convicted killer asked him either a male he shot to genocide would go to heaven.

“What could we say?” Wampler said. “I told him customarily God has a answer.”

The Great Recession has influenced Bill Glass Champions for Life. Wampler works for extremely reduction income than a $75,000-to-$100,000 per year he done as a manufacturer’s rep.

The largest source of income for a method comes from foundations. But Wampler pronounced removing income from foundations to support a jail method such as Champions for Life is not an easy sell.

“Kids are a No. 1 priority, and with good reason,” Wampler said. “Inmates are during a bottom of a food chain” when it comes to charity.

Wampler pronounced that when Jesus earnings to Earth, he will apportion to a drug-addicted, a mentally depressed, a alcoholics and, yes, a inmates.

He pronounced his steady hit with prisoners has helped him know that he’s not many opposite than many of a inmates. “I see myself in so many of these people,” he said.

He pronounced a common thesis among inmates is that many of them were badly beaten by their fathers when they were children.

Holly Wampler pronounced her husband’s categorical error is that he infrequently puts his family in a second-fiddle position when he helps others.

Wampler admits to being “a flawed, corrupted male who is a prolonged approach off” from perfection.

Every Tuesday Wampler is in town, he helps a accessible organisation of people connected to Winter Haven churches in feeding a homeless and a hungry. They also give divided equipment of need, like socks.

Wampler confesses to blank customarily one Tuesday that he was accessible since “I went to a Rays game.”

John Givens, 55, famous as “First John,” attended a feeding on a new Tuesday, removing a dish of chicken, bread and cookies.

Wampler “feels for people who are down and out,” Givens said.

Dolores Cunningham, 62, is one of a regulars who serves a hungry.

Wampler is a good male who loves his family, Cunningham said.

“God has placed a complicated weight on Carter’s heart.”

[ Rick Rousos can be reached during rick.rousos@theledger.com or 863-802-7509. ]

Virginia community leader played major role in prison ministry program

Robert W. Thompson

Robert W. Thompson, 77, of 233 Wyndover Drive, Danville, Va. went to be with Christ on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 while a patient at Henrico Doctor’s Hospital in Richmond, Va.

He was born February 15, 1935 in Greensboro, NC to the late Josephine Miller
Thompson and the late John Walter Thompson. On May 15, 1954, he married his sweetheart Martha Sue Holden Thompson.
He worked in highway construction from the age of thirteen. Upon graduation from college in 1957, Mr. Thompson went to work with Thompson­Arthur Paving Co. (subsequently APAC­Virginia, Inc.) in Martinsville, Va.

He had earned a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University. Mr. Thompson then moved to Danville in 1962, spending the remainder of his life here. After retiring with APAC, he later was affiliated with the John W. Daniel Company for several years.

Mr. Thompson was a member of Fairview United Methodist Church, a certified lay speaker with the Methodist church, taught Sunday School since 1964, and he has served as Chairman of Administrative Board, on pastoral staff, with the finance committee, as well as with other committees. Mr. Thompson also has been involved
with a number of disaster relief projects including mission trips to Honduras.

For decades, he reached out to prisoners through ministry.

He was actively involved with the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry since 1980; he taught a weekly Bible study in the Danville City Jail, and also served as President of Danville Council as well as Chairman of National Board of Trustees of Good News Jail and Prison Ministry for eleven years.

The Rev. David Abernathy, chaplain with Good News Jail & Prison Ministry, worked closely with Thompson for more than 30 years, and Abernathy said Thompson meant a great deal to him.

When Abernathy met Thompson in the early 1980s, he said Thompson made an impact on his life — especially when he became a chaplain. Abernathy said Thompson helped him understand how important everyone was.

“When inmates wondered if anybody cared — Robert Thompson cared, and he was there,” said Abernathy. “When they were discouraged, he was there. That sense of ‘this man isn’t looking down at me’ really impacted those guys. It certainly was a big part of his life to be there for people.”

Abernathy said Thompson was a man who cared about people and that was illustrated in the way he lived his life and the way he invested in people. Thompson began working with the ministry in 1980, and from that point on, Abernathy said there was not a Thursday that went by that he was not in the jail ministering and talking with inmates.

“This is somebody who was chairman of the board and talked to inmates like they were equals — that’s what touched me about him,” Abernathy said. “Over the years he had befriended those guys in jail. When they got out of jail he helped them find a job, a church and was a friend to them. They could pick up the phone and call him just like anyone else could.”

The only thing Thompson loved more than church and the prison ministry, Abernathy said, was his family. Abernathy said that Thompson’s wife, Martha Sue, was his best friend. He was a devoted father and grandfather, as well.

“As passionate as he was about many things, people were always more important,” Abernathy said. “He respected people. That’s how he lived his life, and he lived that way until his last breath.”

Mr. Thompson served as president and secretary of the International Fellowship of Christian Businessmen. He served on the board of directors of Danville’s Little Life; serving as a charter member. He was also instrumental in forming the Dan River Emmaus Community.

Mr. Thompson has also served his community in the following capacities: Board member and President of Danville YMCA, President of Danville Chamber of Commerce, Board member of Danville Industrial Development, Member of Danville Development Council, Chairman of Danville Area Development Foundation,
President of Danville United Way, Member of Executive Committee of Danville Memorial Hospital, Director of Virginia Roadbuilders, President of Virginia Asphalt Association, and Regional Director of National Asphalt Pavement Association.

Awards he received included the Westover Sertoma Club “Service to Mankind” award in 1976, and an “Outstanding Citizen” award presented by the Kiwanis Club in 1978.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons: Robert W. Thompson, Jr. and wife, Elizabeth of Canton, GA, Richard A. Thompson and wife, Terry of Yorktown, VA, and E. Scott Thompson and wife, Ellen of Danville; one sister: Melissa T. Harrelson of Greensboro, NC; six grandchildren: Meredith Starnes and husband, Jeremy,
Laura Thompson, Lindsey Thompson, Haley Thompson, Amy Grogan and husband, Jarrod, and Kari Collins and husband, Brandon; five great­grandchildren: Madisyn and Cole Grogan, Laeklyn Starnes, and Lane and Nolan Collins.

Mr. Thompson was preceded in death by his sister Linda Joe Koury and his brother John Walter Thompson, Jr.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Friday, August 24, 2012 at Fairview United Methodist Church, 1013 Westover Drive, Danville, with Pastor Kathleen Monge and Rev. Linwood Cook officiating. Interment will follow at Mount View Cemetery.


Kindly leave your condolences below, in comments. Your last “God Bless You!” they will serve as a Tribute of the Fallen Solder for Christ and as a reminder of our Prison Ministry Unity …

Serge Taran,
Founder International Network of Prison Ministries
The World’s Largest Community of Prison Ministries 


Received by email:

I have read the articles on and about Robert’s involvement in the community and specifically, prison ministry. It would appear that those who worked and volunteered with him were and have been deeply touched by his humanity to those he witnessed to in the prisons. It is a deep loss for all, especially his family. From the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton please know our prayers will be with all of you.

In Christ,


Teresa Kellendonk, BA, M. Div., Associate Director of Pastoral Care

Phone 780.469-1010 ext 2249, Fax – 780-465-3003,

8421 101 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T6A 0L1, Canada




With a Murder and Jailbreak Behind Him, Rogue Cop Bob Erler Turns to the Ministry

Golden Gloves, Black Belt, Green Beret—Bob Erler had won all those emblems of the colors of manhood. Finally came the silver badge of a policeman in Hollywood, Fla. and a reputation as a supercop. Then, on Aug. 11, 1968, Erler met Dorothy Clark, a 42-year-old drifter who, with her daughter, Merilyn, had been sleeping on the beach. At his invitation, they spent the night in his trailer. But when Erler propositioned Dorothy, she turned him down. Erler exploded. “Something just clicked,” he recalls, “and I said, ‘Kill her!’ It was like retreating back in my mind and watching myself do it. The little girl started screaming, so I shot her too.”

Now, 11 years after Merilyn Clark’s murder—her mother miraculously survived—Erler’s life has taken another bizarre turn. The North Phoenix Baptist Church, a conservative Arizona congregation of 9,000, has licensed him as a minister. “We’ve seen gifts in him and are convinced that he’s been called to the gospel ministry,” says associate pastor Harold Green. “We know where he’s been and where he wants to go. We believe he’s a rocket that just needs to be aimed.”

Certainly, Erler’s 34-year trajectory has been spectacular. The oldest son of a father who insisted on excellence, Erler became a boxing champion while in high school in Phoenix. Dropping out to join the Army during his junior year, he went on to serve as a Special Forces instructor. When his father’s death barred him from combat in Vietnam, Erler got out to become a cop. He declared a war of his own—on crime.

Aggressive and quick-tempered, Erler soon led the Hollywood force in arrests. Then, in 1968, his teenage bride, Patricia, left him, taking with her their infant son. Distraught, Erler tried to vent his anger by running every day on the beach where, a month later, he encountered the Clarks. After the shooting, he dumped the bodies and phoned headquarters. “I just killed,” Erler told the dispatcher, without identifying himself. “Please catch me! Come and get me. I may kill tonight too!” Then Erler reported for duty. “I worked on the case for about a month,” Erler recalls, “and even arrested suspects. I don’t know what was going on inside me. One time, I had to play the tape of my voice on the phone to the other detectives. We listened to it, and they said they really felt sorry for the guy. I said, ‘So do I.’ ”

Dorothy Clark was finally able to identify her attacker, and Erler, who had quit the force and returned to Arizona, was captured and sentenced to 99 years and six months. In prison the burly ex-cop fought to make his name as the toughest con in the yard—a battle that cost him several teeth, a broken jaw and 100 stitches in his head. Then in 1973 he scaled a wall, swam an alligator-filled moat and escaped, eluding capture for six months. He fell in with the mob in Miami, married again and helped instruct a karate club at Mississippi State University. He was finally captured when he tried to pick up a mail-order .357 Magnum at the Mathiston, Miss. post office.

Back in prison, Erler turned to evangelism. He organized a Jaycee chapter and earned straight A’s in correspondence courses in religion. Transferred to the Arizona State Prison two years ago, he baptized more than 100 of his fellow cons in an irrigation ditch. “He had that karate and that religion, and the men respected it,” marveled one guard captain. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Last year the Arizona parole board recommended that Erler be released on parole, but Florida authorities have not yet consented. If he must, says Erler, he is ready to put in more time. “Another year would just make me stronger,” he says. “I don’t have to prove anything anymore, except to God. After all these years of hard time, I’ve found this incredible freedom.”

Bill Shaw

Former Gophers, NFL lineman John Williams passed during 64

MINNEAPOLIS — John Williams, a former Minnesota Gophers and NFL lineman who became a renouned dentist and village personality in north Minneapolis after his football career, died Sunday while out for a walk, according to friends.

Williams, 64, played descent tackle for a Gophers in a mid-1960s, winning All-Big Ten honors in 1967 and assisting lead a Gophers to a share of a joining pretension that year.

He was drafted in a initial turn and assimilated a Baltimore Colts in 1968, personification on dual teams that went to a Super Bowl in 3 years, winning a 1971 championship game.

He afterwards assimilated a Los Angeles Rams in 1972 and played for them for 7 seasons, timid in 1979 during a age of 32 after 12 NFL seasons.

Williams afterwards returned to Minnesota, where he began his dental use and became a reputable county leader.

“He was someone who clearly everybody respected,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak pronounced Sunday afternoon. “John was a crucially critical member of many county projects in north Minneapolis, including revitalizing West Broadway and involving youth.”

Williams for years had his dentist’s bureau on West Broadway, practicing in north Minneapolis for roughly 25 years. Born in Jackson, Miss., he perceived his bachelor’s in preparation from a University of Minnesota in 1969 and his DDS grade in 1978 from a University of Maryland.

Williams also was a private commander and served on a Metropolitan Airports Commission, a ruling house during Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He was allocated in 2002 by Gov. Jesse Ventura, and reappointed twice by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

“He was a critical member of a elect for some-more than a decade,” pronounced Jeff Hamiel, MAC’s executive director. “He was always focused on integrity and asked questions about a farrago programs, either we were including all members of a community, including people with disabilities or special needs.”

Williams won a Minneapolis proffer of a year endowment in 1992 and for roughly dual decades was active in heading a prison ministry team.

Other county duties enclosed portion as boss of a West Broadway Business Association and as a past house member of a Minneapolis Urban League.

“He had a clarity of obligation,” pronounced City Council Member Don Samuels. “He only wanted to offer a village and give behind to a village that gave to him. His impact is going to be satisfied gradually as we skip him.”

Sherman Patterson, a Williams protege, pronounced his coach was recuperating from a kidney transplant about a month ago during a Mayo Clinic.

He pronounced he saw Williams Saturday night and that he “looked good.” Patterson pronounced Sunday that Williams was on his morning travel and about 6 blocks from his north Minneapolis home when he died.

“John was an anchor on West Broadway and a North Side,” pronounced Patterson, an help to Rybak. “John believed in creation a village better. He stayed during home for a adore of a North Side.”

Funeral arrangements had not been announced Sunday.

Amber Lee

This talented young woman is an accomplished recording star who has performed on television and radio as well as the 2000 NASCAR Circuit.


Jack Murphy and his Jewels for the Journey

Jack Murphy gained notoriety in 1964 for committing what was then called the Jewel Robbery of the Century, lifting more than $2 million in gems from the J.P. Morgan collection in New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. Actor Don Stroud immortalized Jack, known as ‘Murf the Surf’, in the movie of the same name, a film that highlighted his daring jewel heist.

Murf served 21 years in prison in New York and Florida state prisons for the jewel heist and other serious crimes. In 1975, while incarcerated in Florida State Prison, Murf met prison ministry volunteers. It was that experience and a decision to follow Christ that changed Murf’s life forever.Upon his release from prison in 1985, Murf soon returned to prison, this time as a featured platform guest, speaking to inmates about his 21 years behind bars and boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.

Jack spent 30 years servicing the Lord on staff with Bill Glass Champions for Life, he has been a featured guest and speaker for Coalition of Prison Evangelists (COPE), KAIROS, and Good News Jail and Prison Ministry. Jack is on the Board of Directors of the International Network of Prison Ministries. He has spoken in over 1,200 prisons around the world.

Reflecting the incredible work Murf has accomplished in prisons around the world, his life-time parole was completely terminated in 2000.

Murf was the keynote speaker in Jerusalem during the 1st World Conference on Crime Prevention and Recidivism through Religion. In addition to being a regular on Christian TV and radio programs, Murf has also been a featured guest on CNN’s Larry King Live.

Murf is an accomplished painter (take a look and get one or the whole set signed by Jack for your ministry!) and musician and won two Hollywood Angel Awards in Evangelism, one for his book Jewels for the Journey, and the other for a TV documentary he directed entitled San Quentin Homecoming Reunion. In 1997, for his lifetime achievement in the sport, Murf was inducted into the Surfing Legends Hall of Fame.

Now living in Crystal River, Florida, with his wife Kitten and grandchildren.

Tamra Comstrock

Tamra is a top country and gospel recording artist with Gateway Entertainment.  Her rich and powerful voice delivers every lyric with incredible feeling and charming intensity.  She has sung with many of the top names in Country Music – George Strait, Mel Tillis, Reba McIntyre and George Jones to name a few.

Tino Wallenda

From the Big Top to the Big House, Tino Wallenda brings the thrills of high wire artistry to audiences across the nation and the world.  From the world famous “Flying Wallenda” family, Tino brings his death defying high wire performance to the big tents, on television world wide and now to the prisons of America.