Gerald Bills is awarded the National Sheriff's Association's Chaplain of the Year award.
June 29, 2010
Geral Bills 06-29-10 2
Above: Sheriff Mark Hodges, Jeanette Bills, Gerald Bills, and Chief Deputy Marcus Gatton.
Gerald Bills June 29 2010
Above: Members of the National Sheriff's Association, Jeanette Bills, Gerald Bills, and Whitley County Sheriff Mark Hodges.
Sheriff Mark Hodges is proud to announce that Gerald Bills has been selected as the National Sheriffs' Association's 2010 Jail Chaplain of the Year. The press release is below:
1450 Duke Street, Alexandria VA 22314
703-836-7827 phone, 703-683-6541 fax
February 18, 2010
Alexandria, VA  - The National Sheriff's Association (NSA) is pleased to announce that Chaplain Gerald Bills, of the Whitley County Sheriff's Office in Columbia City, Indiana, has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Chaplain of the Year. The Chaplain of the Year award will be presented at the Opening General Session on Monday, June 28th at NSA's Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.
Chaplain Bills has been the volunteer chaplain at the Whitley County Jail for over 35 years, providing ministry, kindness, and generosity to countless inmates and their families.
Chaplain Bills was born in Whitley County in 1929. He was employed at a factory for 37 years until his retirement in 1997. In 1975, he began to bring Bibles and visit with inmates in the county jail. He continued that practice ever since, taking over church services in 1976. As jail chaplain, he spends hours every week with inmates helping them with their spiritual needs as well as their practical concerns.
Chaplain Bills has an innate helpful nature that far exceeds the value of a formal certification or degree in pastoral counseling. His empathy and faith lead him to anticipate and meet the inmates' needs without benefit of a mission statement or checklist.
During the Christmas season, Chaplain Bills leads a personal Angel Tree to guarantee that children of inmates are not forgotten during the season. He also coordinates Christmas parties for the inmates, as well as supplying food, beverages, prayer boods and Christmas cards for the inmates to send.
The Chaplain's Office helps inmates find transportation to return home upon release. If this is difficult, Chaplain Bills has not hesitated to drive them home himself and has done so over distances of 100 miles. He keeps track of how long inmates stay at the facility; and if their release is in a different season, he manages to bring weather appropriate clothing. He always seems to have just what they need. He also regularly takes inmates to funerals, doctor appointments and other approved furloughs while incarcerated.
These gestures are secondary to Chaplain Bills' spiritual undertaking at the jail. He speaks with inmates about his faith, prays with them and conducts services. Many of them contact the staff after they leave to comment on how their faith has become an important part of their lives.
Chaplain Bills receives no compensation or reimbursement for any of his work, except in the rare instance the courts mandate reimbursement.
Chaplain Bills is a member of the New Hope Wesleyan Church, the Gideon's International, Jail Ministries, and Prison Fellowship of Whitley County.
National Sheriff's Association (NSA) is the largest association of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and a total membership of more than 22,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of criminal justice and public safety. Throughout its sixty-eight-year history, NSA has served as an information clearinghouse for sheriffs, deputies, chiefs of police, other law enforcement professionals, state governments and the federal government. NSA also provides management training for sheriffs and their command personnel at the National Sheriff's Institute and through other innovative programs, workshops, and seminars. The National Sheriffs' Association, located in Alexandria, Virginia, also oversees the highly successful Triad Program and Neighborhood Watch.