SUNBURY — Rev. Walter Everett knows how to give back to the community.
Everett, of Lewisburg, even gave back to his own son's murderer.
"I forgive you," Everett wrote to Mike Carlucci after his son was murdered in 1987 in Connecticut.
Everett, who has served as a Reverand for more than 30 years, moved to Pennsylvania 15 years ago and has since spent his time helping others.
"I only try to do what God is calling me to do," he said. "I am so honored to be nominated and selected for this."
Everett, 85, and his wife Nancy, 83, had a rough end to 2019 as they were in a car accident nearly three weeks ago. Nancy was transported to Geisinger Medical Center, in Danville, where she spent more than a week. She was then sent to a rehabilitation center where she remains today.
Walter, who also suffered minor injuries in the crash, woke up nearly two weeks ago from health problems is also currently hospitalized recovering.
The couple did not get to spend Christmas together but Walter said they are on the phone all day.
"We speak all day and we are in contact all the time," he said. "It's been rough but we are preparing for 2020," he said.
Walter said he retired 15 years ago but in reality, he isn't ready.
"I never want to retire," he joked. "In the ministry, you don’t retire you just stop getting paid."
Since that time
"He practices his Christian faith to its fullest and it gives him the strength and justification to forgive others," Joe Manzi and David Young said in their letter of nomination for Walter because they said they felt he saves people every day.
After Walter visited his son's killer in prison, he decided he would testify at Carlucci’s parole hearing and that testimony was enough for Carlucci's early release.
Walter continues to speak at churches, prisons, high schools, colleges, and universities on a regular basis.
SCI Coal Township Superintendent Tom McGinley said Walter's visits to the prison are helpful to inmates. "He is always welcome here," McGinley said about Walter during a lunch held at the prison recently. "He is a good man and people listen to what he has to say."
Walter has spoken in 20 states, from Montana to Texas, Susquehanna Valley Churches including Catholic, Church of Christ, Methodist, and Independent congregations.
Walter is a regular at SCI-Coal Township where he speaks to inmates at "Days of Responsibility Programs" which urge inmates responsibility and restorative justice.
Walter serves as a board member of the Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation which emphasizes restorative justice and forgiveness.
He also is a member of the Lewisburg Sunrise Rotary Club.
"Everett saves souls, and his example is a healing force freeing many relatives who have suffered a terrible tragedy from years of hate, bitterness, and anger," Manzi and Young said in their nomination.
"Everett turned a tragedy into service for others. Had he held onto the pain and anger he suffered, he likely would not be alive today."