Coming from a long lineage of Kentucky farmers, Terry Wimp of Cecilia spent his early days helping out on the family farm.
“As quick as I was able to get on something, I guess I was doing something,” he said.
Wimp continued that lineage, now producing corn and soy beans on his own family farm. Wimp co-operates the farm with his brother John and receives help from his son Phillip.
Wimp’s career in agriculture recently has taken him to Argentina and France. These opportunists came from his participation in the CORE Farmer Program, an agronomic-based educational program for Kentucky corn farmers. The program consists of seven learning sessions, each of which are comprised of three-day sessions.
“You learn a lot of stuff through that and meet a lot of people,” Wimp said.
Initially established in 2010, Wimp was a member of the program’s second class of graduates and now takes part in agricultural trips with the program as an alumnus. So far, Wimp said he has gotten to visit Argentina twice, meeting local farmers and learning about their natural resources.
“They have some really great ground down there,” Wimp said. “They have some beautiful soil. It looks like Illinois and Iowa dirt. They have great crops and great people and good food.”
When he’s not farming, Wimp spends much of his time in prison ministry through Franklin Crossroads Baptist Church, Gideons International and Evangel Prison Ministries.
Wimp volunteers every week through these ministries, visiting correctional facilities around the state. He said he has been volunteering in this capacity for about two and a half decades.
“I’ve been in and out of prison for 25 years,” he joked.
Wimp said he now pursues prison ministry during the second and third Mondays of the month, every Tuesday, every Friday and every Sunday. When working with inmates, Wimp said he tries to base his work solely on the spiritual needs of the individual.
“I leave it up to them, mostly,” he said. “They’re not there for me, I’m there for them.”
Wimp said many of the prisoners he works with are people who struggle with substance abuse issues. He said many of these inmates have a hard time escaping the constraints of court monitoring and fall into a cycle of incarceration.
“We all mess up, they just got caught,” he said. “Once they get in the system, it’s really hard to get out.”
Wimp said the problem many prisoners have with readjusting to society is a perception they are not forgiven by their peers.
“That’s bad when you have places or people that are supposed to be helping people putting them down and running them off,” he said. “What did Jesus say you should do? You’re supposed to take care of your neighbor, right? Well, who’s your neighbor? It’s anybody. I’d say that’s probably turned a lot of people back to drugs and alcohol.”
Though helping people through prison ministry is a serious endeavor, it’s wrong to assume Wimp doesn’t have a funny bone. Throughout the years, Wimp has helped contribute to the absurdity of the annual Cecilia Days Almost Talent Show.
Throughout his time performing at the variety show, Wimp has portrayed everyone from Uncle Si of the reality show “Duck Dynasty” to Ernest T. Bass of “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Wimp said there is no limit to the absurdity of the show, a fact he realized when he was on stage with late Kentucky 86 Fire Department chief Louis Crosier during a skit in which local fire personnel were assigned tutus to wear.
“Louis looked over at me and he said ‘Is there anything we won’t do?’” Wimp said. “I said ‘Louis, I don’t know. It don’t look like it.’”
Maintaining hundreds of acres of farm land while spending multiple days a week working with the incarcerated may seem taxing, but Wimp said it proves to be worth it when he sees former inmates readjust to life outside of prison.
“I like to help somebody out,” he said.