Sherrod honored by Chamber

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Most people may not know just what an asset Demopolis has in Ben Sherrod. That’s because it is so hard to catch him. However, Monday night Sherrod’s his being given the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award rewarded many good deeds.

Sherrod said he was grateful for the award, but also responded with a statement that showed the humble personality that has always been representative of him.

“There were probably a lot more people who deserved it than I did,” Sherrod said. “It was kind of embarrassing. The glory really goes to God and not to me and it does in a way.”

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Most people would disagree there were better choices for the award. For those who know Sherrod it is difficult to imagine there being a more deserving recipient. Sherrod has been very active in coaching youth sports, was an active member of the Demopolis Jaycees and also spent 10 years working with at risk youth.

However, the project that Sherrod is a part of that makes the biggest impact does not even take place in Demopolis. Kairos, an international ministry that participate sin nine prisons around the state is one of Sherrod’s most beloved projects. Sherrod said he had spent many years in connection with Kairos.

“I have been involved in it for about 15 years,” Sherrod said. “The inmates who stay active show great progress. Kairos is one of the most effective systems out there in terms of changes in the men who participate.”

Tom Perry, who has worked with Sherrod in Kairos for five years, said Sherrod has had a huge impact on his life.

“It was a very well deserving award,” Perry said. He is so selfless and so giving. I could sit here and talk about what a difference he makes all day and you would never get the full impact of what he does.”

Sherrod’s work with Kairos has gotten statewide attention. The program has been so effective that state officials have requested it be a part of the prison system.

“We asked the warden at Donaldson, the most maximum security prison in Alabama, if we could establish a Christian cellblock and he granted that,” Sherrod said. “It turned into what is now the Faith Based Honor Dorm. After we did it a couple of years the commissioner and Attorney General came and saw what we were doing and dictated that it be done all over the state. The last county I had there were over 4,000 inmates that are involved in Faith Based Honor Dorms.”

One of the most impressive things of all about Sherrod and his program is his dedication. Perry said he participates out of love and not for rewards.

“Ben goes up there every Wednesday on his own nickel,” Perry said. “He also goes one Saturday of the month. It means so much to the prisoners to know someone cares.”

Sherrod, who teaches a class at the prison, said Kairos has continued to make strides and has even gotten national attention.

“In 1995 after two or three years of trying to get a ministry on death row we had the first ever Kairos ministry anywhere in the Kairos system,” Sherrod said. “About a year and a half ago we opened up another one in Holman. They are going to have a meeting in Los Angeles this summer and discuss it and try to get it going in other states.”

Sherrod said hard work is simply way of life for him. He said he would not know what to do if he ever had to slow down.

“I am basically a workaholic,” Sherrod said. “I would be bored silly if I had to play golf or go hunting and fishing or something like that.”

Sherrod’s hard work also makes him a natural leader. Perry said when they go into the prisons there is no question who to go to for ideas.

“When we are working together in the prison there is no doubt who our leader is,” Perry said. “When anyone has a question they go to Ben. That includes the warden and everyone else.”