Volunteers at Billy Moore Correctional Center Honored for Efforts to Encourage, Inspire Residents

“You know, I love my volunteers,” says John Cochran, warden of the Billy Moore Correctional Center in Overton, TX. “You’re talking about community leaders. You’re talking about neighbors. In a lot of instances, you’re talking about ex-offenders.”

Recently, the facility held a banquet honoring volunteers who serve at the facility. Carl Thompkins is one of the volunteers being recognized.

“Well, the motivation is just to watch and see people, men, be changed. And I go in and I hug the guys, and let them know that I’m there. I want them to feel relaxed. I shake their hand when they come in the door.”

“A lot of the reward for me, from a faith-based perspective, is knowing that men and women on the inside, many of them really do want to change their lives,” says volunteer David Baer. “They’re just looking for ways to do it. They’re looking for answers.”

Billy Moore Volunteer Banquet Still
Volunteers at the Billy Moore Correctional Center.

Volunteers are a special breed. They hold a powerful influence that’s specific to their unique role.

“So, no matter how good of a job I’d like to do,” Warden Cochran explains, “No matter how good of a job Laurie would like to do as a chaplain here at the facility, the inmates still know that at the end of the day that we’re getting paid to interact with them. And with volunteers, they know that the volunteers are choosing to spend their own time and their own money to be in here to help them.”

Coordinating the volunteer effort at Billy Moore is the responsibility of Chaplain Laurie Tuttle.

“My relationship with my volunteers is active and it’s vital and it’s growing. I know them and they know me. They feel like they can reach out to me and ask for things. I hear them. And they listen to me, so it’s a good relationship. Love my volunteers.”

Billy Moore Volunteer Banquet Still
Chaplain Laurie Tuttle hugs a volunteer.

“That’s what encourages us. Not only the men on the inside within our programs, but to have the support that we do of the staff and the warden, administration, and, of course, Chaplain Tuttle – absolutely incredible,” says Carl. “And that makes our life and our work just that much easier. And, really, it’s a whole team effort.”