‘O’ Foundation honors Durr

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 8, 2008

The Rev. Jerry Durr of the Brookhaven Outreach Ministries isknown as a humble man, but almost everyone who knows him also knowsat least one of many stories that encapsulate his humility andwillingness to serve the Brookhaven community.

Durr’s servant’s heart was referenced quite frequently by thespeakers at the ‘O’ Foundation’s 2008 Ole Brook VIP Banquet Fridaynight at the Lincoln County Multi-Purpose building. Durr, chosenthis year as the VIP, said he was humbled to have been chosen forthe award and honored at the black-tie dinner. He told attendeesthat while God’s work is never done here on earth, treasures arestored up in heaven.

“We may go through struggles, trials and tests, and it may seemthat the seed that God has planted in us is never going to grow,”he said. “But be persistent, because God does not see things as wedo. God looks on the heart.”

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Friends and contemporaries talked about how Durr began his ministryin Brookhaven, but each of them had an example of how he had givenor forgiven when he didn’t have to, or had words of comfort orwisdom for the grieving or the lost.

Keynote speaker Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop spoke of a time anunruly man came into the Outreach Ministries looking for a coat.Bishop said Durr helped him look through a coat selection, and eachone the man tried on ended up on the floor, thrown there in anger.Finally, Durr took off his own coat, the one he was hardly everwithout.

“The guy tried it on, and when it didn’t fit, he threw it on thefloor and stormed out,” Bishop said. “Brother Jerry picked up hisjacket, dusted it off and put it back on.”

Bishop said he told Durr he couldn’t believe that even with theman’s surly attitude, Durr was willing to give up his own coat forhim.

“He just looked at me and said, ‘Isn’t that what God did for me?'”Bishop said. “That will stay with me until I see the Lord with myown eyes.”

Other speakers spoke of Durr’s love for people, even in the face ofpersonal grief and sacrifice as well. Isaic Jackson, a longtimefriend of Durr’s, pointed out that the Book of Luke commands thatthose who would follow Christ must take up their cross and followHim.

“I have watched this man deny himself for years,” he said. “A manis not determined by what he has accomplished, but by what heendures. And looking at Jerry’s life reminds us that it’s not whereyou end up at night but where you serve others in the daytime thatmatters.”

First Baptist Church’s Pastor Greg Warnock also said Durr has beenan inspiration to many, especially in his service since he lost hisson to an untimely death several years ago.

“The community watched this man of God deal with his tribulation,and far beyond any sermon he ever preached – and he can preach – ishis walk with God,” he said. “One day I looked at him and thought,’Do you see him? He’s still standing. Do you see him? He’s stillwalking.'”

As the 2007 VIP award winner Mayor Bob Massengill handed down thecup at the end of the ceremony, he told the crowd, “We know a manright here who truly represents Jesus Christ every day. I can’tthink of anyone who deserves this award more, and I’m so honored tobe able to be the one to pass this cup on to him.”