Jefferson Award Winner helps change the futures of former offend - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Jefferson Award Winner helps change the futures of former offenders

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By Bonnie Shelton

WAUSAU (WAOW)--Established in 1972, the Jefferson Award recognizes businesses, schools and individuals who answer the call to action to better their community. This month, we honor a man who uses his faith and personal experience to help ex offenders turn their lives around.

Adjusting to life outside a prison cell can be challenging. That's why Charles Sanders is working hard to make that transition as easy as possible for area offenders.

His wife, Lois, says he's an inspiration to anyone he meets. "Through all the times that we've been together, he's always been a witness out there to other people and encouraging them to grow and change," she said.

That's why she nominated her husband for a Jefferson Award.

"He can help these people when they come out of prison to stay out, to help them want to change," she said.

Sanders, a ten year marine vet and human relations instructor, uses biblical principals and life experiences to relate to ex offenders. He says, it's a two-way street.

"You have to have empathy to help people and to be able to communicate effectively and that's something I continue to grow as I help others."

Through his work at the Marathon County Jail, Sanders has been able to make an impact on many lives throughout the community. His wife says it's his ability to bridge the gap that makes him so deserving.

"I think he's deserving of this award because he can work with the different cultures in Wausau," she said.

Sanders is happy to help, and grateful for the people who make his job possible.

"I am very thankful to be here in Wausau, I have been here for 14 years and this community has been nothing but a blessing to me and my family even with the ups and the downs, that's just part of life," said the humble pastor and mentor to many.

That's why, he's our April Jefferson Award winner.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

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