To the Editor: 

The Monroe County Ministerial Association learned of a situation involving an out-of-town family stranded in Forsyth due to a traffic incident that totaled their vehicle. The Ministerial Association was alerted by Forsyth Police, which went above and beyond the call of duty to help this family, which included husband, wife, three young children and a dog.  

This family’s vehicle was totaled, and they could no longer afford to pay for a hotel room as they awaited compensation from their insurance company. Police assessed the situation and contacted Joe Thompson, the treasurer for the Monroe County Ministerial Association, who was able to buy bus tickets back to their home city. Police were even gracious enough to provide transportation for the family to the Macon bus station.

I learned from the officer at the scene that the husband of the family became so upset over his inability to pay for lodging for another night in Forsyth, coupled with the insurance company's delay, that he pulled a knife at the registration desk and ran into the men's restroom where he locked himself in. At that point he was threatening suicide, according to the officer, but they finally convinced him to give up his knife and come back into the hotel lobby.  

That is where the association got involved when the officers were trying to get the family out of Forsyth and headed toward their relatives in Tampa. They called Glenn Gregg first, who called me, then I called back to the officer to get the ball rolling for the family. 

Forsyth PD ran background checks on their couple's licenses, which were clean, and the children were deemed to be safe in their parents' custody. At that point, the ability to get them to Tampa depended on bus tickets and someone taking them to the Macon bus station.  

The father had calmed considerably by the time I got there, and the mother was grateful beyond words that her husband was not being charged. To top it off, the couple was married about two weeks ago in Indiana (her home apparently) and was returning to their Tampa home after a honeymoon. The officer was able to order bus tickets on line via my personal credit card, and an FPD detective took the family to the Macon bus station. I reimbursed myself $589.95 for the five adults and one dog to ride the bus to Tampa.

We should let our folks know about good things that happen when people cooperate in a crisis. I am glad the Ministerial Association was able to step in and help this family in a substantial way that ended their immediate crisis. I regret time constraints prevented much interaction with the family because the children certainly will be affected by the incident.  

The Ministerial Association is an organization of many churches in Monroe County who want to be part of it. It coordinates such events as the Mary Persons Baccalaureate Lunch, the National Day of Prayer and community Thanksgiving and Easter services. It partners with Circle of Care to help those in need, as well as assisting out-of-town families in distress. Donations to the Monroe County Ministerial Association can be funneled through participating churches.

Rev. Chris Fuller and 

Rev. Marilyn Marek-Tucker


Rev. Chris Fuller of Russellville Baptist Church and Rev. Marilyn Marek-Tucker of Forsyth Presbyterian Church are members of the Monroe County Ministerial Association.