"The Extra Mile" Winner - October, 2013 - Jim Stoppenhagen of Fort Wayne

By Linda Jackson

October 9, 2013 Updated Oct 9, 2013 at 12:41 PM EDT

Yoder, Ind. (21Alive) -- Helping men to become good father figures and helping to keep men who commit crimes from doing it again.

That's what this month's "Extra Mile Award" recipient is all about, and I'm happy to bring you my special report.

Jim Stoppenhagen heads up the Christian retreat called Stillwater Ministries at a wooded area in Yoder, Indiana.

Robert "Skippy" Gard works with Jim and nominated him.

The program is supported by Chain-O-Lakes Correctional Facility where offenders pay weekly visits to fish, sit, talk, eat and share.

Jim believes with all his heart that the fellowship and his serving as a mentor can help.

He and his family have lived here 22-years, and he says he wouldn't be anywhere else.

Robert "skippy" Gard says, "I think he's a great guy. He's a give-back guy, a guy who wants to affect change in people. He's a brother in Christ that really is the kind of guy you want to hold on to, and there aren't very many of them left in the world."

Jim Stoppenhagen says, "I think it's a privilege to be nominated, and I hope this will be an encouragement to others. Most of these guys grew up in an environment in which they did not have a significant father figure. They grew up in an environment in where there was a lot of struggle, a lot of pain and a lot of suffering. So, when we bring them here, we not only surround them with the beauty of nature but also with a number of men that are Godly, that are mature, that are caring. When they come out here, they sense that love, I guess. Every Friday seems like Christmas to me because I can't believe we've been given this privilege to be able to do this. Fatherlessness breeds fatherlessness. A man that grew up in a home in which there wasn't a father tends to lose the ability or never have the ability to father others."

The men visit the retreat for a few hours every Friday, still in their jumpsuits, even performing chores.

My thanks to "Skippy" and Jim.

And if you know someone who goes The Extra Mile, nominate that person by going to our website, www.incnow.tv and clicking on the Features page.

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