By Meg Hibbert, Contributing Writer
Salem resident Garry Lautenschlager has received a high award for more than 40 years of putting faith into action.
Pastor David Drebes presented Laugenschlager with the Serving Boldly Lay Leadership Award at a recent service at their church, College Lutheran. The award came from the Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
He was one of only four in Virginia to receive the award, which recognized not only service in his congregation but also his active service in many ministries.
“I’m quite honored,” said Lautenschlager, who was one of the founding directors of the Salem Area Ecumenical Ministries (SAEM). The ministry feeds hungry children and their families, provides the Summer Feed and Read program and obtained two grants for student-run food pantries at Andrew Lewis Middle School and Salem High School. Lautenschlager wrote those grants.
He added that he is proud to be a part of organizations that support those who are less fortunate.
“I take a lot of pride in the call to serve based on the commandment to serve,” he added. His list of volunteer service fills two pages, and ranges from the board of Family Promise of Greater Roanoke that helps homeless families with housing, jobs and childcare; to chair of Area Churches together that provides weekend breakfast and lunch items to more than 180 school children in Salem and western Roanoke County.
He was Salem Rescue Squad member for 25 years and one of the first paramedics certified in Virginia.
Lautenschlager has been an active member of College Lutheran for 55 of his 66 years.
Lautenschlager and his wife, Shirley, have a son, Chris, who lives in Raleigh, NC.