David has been with the ministry since June 2012. Prior to joining the ministry, David completed 36 years with the City of Chattanooga serving in various management positions. He continues to be active in his church as a Sunday school teacher.
David and his wife Donna reside in Ooltewah; they have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.
"Gretrell is the staff coordinator of PPM's Prevention Program. A professional guitarist, Gretrell gave up a lucrative music career traveling around the country with several well known artists such as Whitney Houston. His calling and heart now centers around youth. This humble man, with a depth of character, is a role model for the at-risk students he works with in schools and probation offices in Tennessee and Georgia." This was written in a newsletter about "Trell" (as those at the office call him) in 1995 and it still holds true today some 20 yrs later.
Gretrell Watkins has been with PPM since 1994, and started the Prevention program in 1995. He is married to Cassandra, they have one daughter.
Mike has been with the ministry since 2005. He works with youth who have gone on prison tours and is ready to hook them up to positive organizations where they can learn new ways of coping with the many pressures youth are experiencing today.
Mike is a guitarist. Doyle Dykes, who has done various fundraisers for PPM, has been a mentor of Mike's for many years.
Mike is married to Kristy, they have two boys.
Melissa joined PPM in October 2007. She is our female Speaker/Counselor and loves spending time with youth and encouraging them to stay on the right path.
Married to Steven, they share two children, Seth and Cambrie, a dog, Watson, and a cat, Abby.
In her spare time, Melissa loves to exercise. She has a passion for roses and enjoys working in her flower garden.
Kathy has been with the ministry since May 2000; the administrative manager since 2012. She coordinates Christmas Angel and PPM's annual banquet. She is a behind the scenes sort of person. Kathy loves the Lord and her work at the ministry.
She enjoys reading and traveling. She spends her time at home with her 2 dogs, Stormy and Cage.
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" - John 8:36
Locally, there has been much debate about the effectiveness of the VRI and gang reduction task force. Our community continues to look to social answers for moral questions. That may well be the wrong starting point. It is an issue that we as Christians should place high on our prayer list. Our counselors are in the schools every day, dealing with kids who are being recruited into gangs. The appeal is great, the idea of belonging and being a part of something that is missing in their life. What is missing you may ask? They say it is usually one or both parents. But during our follow-ups, most admit that God is missing in their lives.
It sounds so bleak until you hear the stories of those whose lives have been changed by Jesus Christ. These stories were shared at our banquet, I thought you might like to hear how God has used Prison Prevention.
Brianna was disrespectful to her Mom and preparing to join a gang when Melissa was asked to meet with her. Her Mom was concerned about the choices she was making and where they would take her. Melissa encouraged her to consider the consequences. She shared how God had changed her life and that He would do the same for her. Now Brianna is seeking God's will in her life and thanks God for his Grace and Melissa's encouragement and mentoring.
Jesus was a 14 year old troubled student, using drugs, disrespectful, looking to join a gang and fill his need of a missing father. After a prison trip Mike shared Christ with him and led him to the Lord. A local Church took him in and helped him grow. Shortly thereafter, his sister and mother came to follow Christ and now his whole family is active in the church. At the banquet he shared how God's grace changed him, how Mike's concern and follow-up made a difference, and how thankful he was to be sharing his testimony as a 18 year old graduating senior.
Dustin was a former inmate who came to know Christ in a maximum security cell. Locked up 23 hours a day, a volunteer dropped off a magazine article talking about the character of God, it convicted him and he asked Jesus to forgive him. His story is amazing, how God protected him and grew him in the Word behind prison bars. Many of our volunteers had the privilege of having Dustin attend one of our seminar's at Silverdale. We just knew God had his hand on him. After almost 3 years he is out, a full-time student at Covenant College continuing to seek God's will in his life.
We thank God for these 3 lives and thank God for our counselors and volunteers that are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Our team is stretched very thin, and yet we still have more calls for help. We need to fund and fill our vacant counselor position. Pray that God will continue to show us favor, provide for our needs and guard our steps as we help our community stop gang violence one life at a time.