Rev. Ballard's Instrumental Role At St. Paul's - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Rev. Ballard's Instrumental Role At St. Paul's

Reverend James Ballard served as Tyler Police chaplain and was a Reverend in East Texas for many years.

While pastoring at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Tyler, he was a catalyst in starting the St. Paul Children's Foundation, now a separate non-profit organization.

"He had a great zest for life and he was very vision focused, especially when it came to children. It was always go for it. A child has a need, we can make it happen, let's go for it," said Saleen Hearan, the Executive Director of St. Paul's Children's Foundation.

Dr. Ballard was the minister at St Paul when it all began. A member of the congregation saw a need that she wanted the church to do something about.

"When she had the idea to get started, she went to Brother Ballard and asked him, can I do this program in this little building beside the church? And he said go for it," said Hearan.

From that, the vision was born. The first program started was Wonderful Wednesdays, an evening for neighborhood kids with food, recreation, Bible teaching and more.

But the needs of the community grew, and their vision soon expanded. 

"We started raising funds in 1994," said Dr. Don Richards, who worked with Ballard and others to raise funds to open a full medical clinic.

"Jim was a ball of energy with a great sense of humor. He was always excited about the project. Everybody who would listen he would sit there and tell them the whole story. He made a lot of friends across the city with that big smile and all that energy. He helped build the relationships that we have today that continue on," said Richards.

In 1996, they opened the new clinic, but they soon grew out of that and rapidly expanded even more.

"There is such a need. You can't help but want to do something when you look in the eyes of some of the children out there," said Richards.

Now, St. Paul's includes a food pantry, clothes closet, a medical and dental clinic plus the Wonderful Wednesdays event that started it all.

"Little bits at a time the programs were added. And just grew and grew and grew into what it is today - a ministry serving up to 24,000 people a year," said Hearan.

"Jim served well and is going to be deeply missed, and his good works will live on," said Richards.

In the faces of those helped - and the many more to come - the legacy of Reverend Ballard will live on at St. Paul.

The family of Reverend Ballard has asked donations be sent to St. Paul's Children's Foundation or the Children's Advocacy Center.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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