Memorial service planned for Melvindale police chaplain, CERT member

Photo by Sue Suchyta Jerry Lee Williams at the Community Emergency Response Team booth Aug. 13, 2016 at the Melvindale Street Fair. As a police chaplain, the police often called him when families needed help following an accident or death.

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Jerry Lee Williams at the Community Emergency Response Team booth Aug. 13, 2016 at the Melvindale Street Fair. As a police chaplain, the police often called him when families needed help following an accident or death.

 

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE – The Rev. Jerry Lee Williams, a Melvindale police chaplain and an active Community Emergency Response Team member for Melvindale and Allen Park, lost his battle with cancer Nov. 24 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He was 55.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec. 2 at Christ Family Church, 18506 Telegraph Road, Brownstown Township.

Cpl. Rolando Hinojosa of the Melvindale police force said Williams was kindhearted and one of the most committed members of Allen Park-Melvindale CERT.

Williams founded Heart to Heart Ministries, whose beneficiaries included elderly cancer patients and people who could not afford mobility aids, and whose needs fell through cracks in the system. The group distributed wheelchairs and helped people with medication, food and rides.

City Councilman Wheeler Marsee said he first met Williams 16 years ago through former Melvindale Mayor Valerie Cadez.

“The city has lost a public servant and I have lost a true friend,” Marsee said.

Williams’ friend Joanna Cadez said his compassion for those in need superseded his own circumstances.

“He was sick most of the time he was serving people in one of his roles and nobody ever knew it unless he told them,” Cadez said. “He didn’t stop until he had to. That’s how much people meant to Jerry.

“He was the hands and feet of Jesus. He had the right idea about making a positive change in the world, starting with one person at a time.”

Williams’ ministry was faith-based, but he knew how to express his concerns to Michigan legislators about the restrictions government-funded health care put on seniors and the disabled.

Williams had said he knew what it’s like to be immobile.

“I know what it is to be sick, to be not walking,” he said. “This is why I have become an advocate for the seniors and the people who are medically ‘not able.’”

Williams said he would never let the cost of easing pain stand in his way.

“We’re in the hole,” Williams said in 2010 of Heart to Heart Ministries. “I don’t care how deep we get. We’re going to do whatever we can. “God said, ‘Let us unite together as a family and help one another.’ As Jesus helped those in his day, we are called to help those in our day.”

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)