NBC25 nominates Saginaw pastor for national feature
Thu, 21 Oct 2010 02:24:17 GMT —
This month NBC News asked local stations for help finding African Americans making history in their communities.
The network plans to produce a special report recognizing their work.
In our newsroom, the first name that came to mind for nomination was Pastor Larry Camel, a man making historic peace in the City of Saginaw.
In 2007 Saginaw Police investigated 17 killings and like many, Pastor Larry Camel of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church wanted it to stop.
However, unlike many, Pastor Camel took action by speer heading meetings with police, local leaders and other pastors and eventually co-founded Parishoners on Patrol. .
"And the rest in history. God blessed it. Through faith, we've been able to do many many things in the community," said Pastor Larry Camel.
Parishoners on Patrol set up offices around the city. Volunteer dispatchers took calls, and every night Pastor Camel and volunteers took to the most dangerous streets in Saginaw, patrolling and praying with and for anyone living a life of crime.
City leaders and residents had seen community service groups before, but they had never seen anything like this.
"This has never happened in the City of Saginaw, to get citizens to man a station and act as a deterrent to crime and violence," said Parishioners on Patrol Co-Founder and Saginaw Mayor Pro-Tem Amos O'Neal.
"Never has it been so in line with the police force. Never has this partnership hooked up like this," said Saginaw resident Catherine Elissch.
The partnership and the group's dedication to nightly patrols led by Pastor Camel paid off.
"Right now we're looking at 3 homicides ending the year o 2010 which is a record."
Now, on top of patrols Pastor Camel and the Parishioners on Patrol are working to fight crime by inspiring others with good deeds.
He and volunteers teach folks how to read, distribute food to the hungry and mentor teens.
Just recently a young man approached Pastor Camel at a reception hall and told him he had changed his life.
"He stopped me that night and said 'Pastor Camel I just want to tell you that you changed my life. I was on the wrong path and now I'm the head chef at Jakes,'"
Pastor Camel says stories like that is what keeps him going.
Pastor Camel has received the Key to the City award twice and also received the Community Service Award from the Saginaw Branch of the NAACP.