Jail & Prison Ministry volunteers receive awards from Iowa governor

By Dan Russo

Witness Editor

CEDAR FALLS — Volunteers from Catholic Charities’ Jail & Prison Ministry were recently recognized by the state of Iowa. 

On Oct. 31, six Catholic Charities volunteers received the Governor’s Volunteer Awards at a ceremony on the University of Northern Iowa’s campus —  Father George Karnik, Pam Hays, Al Hays, Mike Yaeger, Ellen Patch and Sister Mary Houlihan, OP. They were joined by Deacon Bill Hickson, director of Jail & Prison Ministry, and ­Jacob Shepard, coordinator of the ministry for the western part of the archdiocese, for the event. 

“We appreciate the generous spirit that each of our volunteers shows towards our clients. They are what make our support programs a success,” said Deacon Hickson. 

A seventh Catholic Charities volunteer, Jerry Manternach, was recognized for his service at Anamosa State Penitentiary  at another ceremony held in Cedar Rapids in August. 

Jail & Prison Ministry volunteers serve in many ways such as being mentors for people returning to their communities after incarceration or by being visitors who provide spiritual and practical support while visiting jails and prisons. A photo of the volunteers honored is posted at TheWitnessOnline.org.

In the photo above, from left to right, is Shephard, Pam Hays, Al Hays, Yaeger, Patch, Sister Mary and Deacon Hickson.

For more information on volunteer opportunities with the ministry, visit https://catholiccharitiesdubuque.org/.