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Southwestern

Eric Reed and Morgan Jackson

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Bicycle ministry steering lives toward recovery

HERRIN, Ill. (BP) -- "Pastor Hurricane! Pastor Hurricane! Me next!" a 9-year-old redhead shouted. "That's not his name, Dominic! That's his church," the boy's mother chided. "He's Pastor Gee." "Me, me, Pastor Gee!" Dominic chanted. He wanted his turn on the bicycle training path. On a warm day behind the Herrin House of Hope soup kitchen and thrift shop, pastor Jeffrey Gee of Hurricane Memorial Baptist Church in Herrin, Ill., and several volunteers taught children bike safety, complete with helmets and a course lined with orange traffic cones. The bikes they rode were second-hand, but they had been completely repaired and spruced up in the church's bike shop. It's all part of Gee's plan to keep the kids out of trouble, and at the same time teach former convicts a trade to keep them from returning to prison.