JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The slamming sound of prison doors can be intimidating to first-time inmates but to repeat offenders it becomes dull and hard to hear.
During the days of his youth, Edwin Pete Griffin, was a repeat offender.
"I never did big time," Griffin said. "Maybe six months or four months."
Griffin said the last time he was arrested he had made up his mind that it was time to change. He said while sitting in his cell he cried out for help.
"I told God lets make a deal," Griffin said. "If you were to get me out of this I will serve you."
Griffin said he was facing 20 years behind bars for his alleged crime when prosecutors offered him a deal of six months, he had already done three.
"I took the deal," he said. "I could not believe God answered my prayers."
Answered prayers helped removed the garments of street life and transformed him into a different person. Griffin said he never looked back.
"All I knew is that I was not going back into the streets," he said.
A transformed person he decided to go back to prison, but this time to give other inmates hope. He had a message that anyone can change.
"I've been saved 31 years," he said.
Griffin, who is a member and Elder at Philippian Community Church, has been active in the prison ministry for the past 28 years.
"I go down to the Duval County jail every Saturday," Griffin said.
On Sundays, Griffing along with a team of others visit facilities like Baker Correctional and Columbia Correctional. He said some Sundays they're gone from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m
Griffin said the prison ministry is built on faith, love, life experiences and compassion.
"We were taught to love and treat them as human beings, not inmates," he said.
It has been a long and successful journey. The prison ministry has been recognized by the Florida Department of Corrections and others for its longevity and success.
Griffin said he has seen the results.
"I'm satisfied, I love it," he said.
Griffin is now retired from the workforce. When asked when will he retire from his prison ministry work, his response was swift.
"(I will continue) until I can't breathe no more," he said.
Because of his enduring love, faith and commitment to reaching those who may seem unreachable, we are proud to salute Edwin Pete Griffin as one of 12 Who Care.