"Sometimes people are struggling with life & carrying a smile always trying to be strong, so be kind to the people you meet, you never know what is going on in their life. A kind word may be all it takes to help them thru another day"
written by Johnny Cook
To advocate and educate about mental health awareness and to facilitate those in our communities searching for help, while facilitating basic physical needs as well as their spiritual needs
Based in Hanceville, Alabama, Cook Ministries is a 501c3 nonprofit Christian street ministry who believes in a W.A.R. (War Against Rebellion) Recovery mindset.
Rebellion is defined as opposition against authority. We find ourselves in a position of doing what “we” want to do, rather than what God has created us to do and that is when we find ourselves in contradiction of our own selves as well as contradiction against the Word of God.
Recovery is defined as a return to normal state of mind, health and strength.
When these two are put together in a Godly way, we find that we can recover in spite of any of our actions which have been brought about by our own rebellious nature.
So therefore, addictions of any type, including substance (drug and alcohol) abuse, depression, suicidal ideations, mental and physical abuse and slavery can be overcome through W.A.R. Recovery.
In order to change the world there must first be a group of people who understand what the focus is, and that’s Kingdom principles. Jesus came to serve people, love people, preach to people, heal people and deliver people. Our focus is on people, not on ministry. Take care of people and the ministry takes care of itself.
Through everything I've experienced in life, including working in the funeral industry for over 20 years, nothing ever prepared me for the death of my brother on November 8, 2015. I only made it through because of my relationship with Christ and the strong grounded Christians who surrounded me. I cried out to God that I had to find something good to come from his death and that is how Cook Ministries was birthed.
According to Newton's third law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I believe that to be true in the spirit realm as well. I believe that for everything bad that happens, we must look for the good. Sometimes it's easy to find, sometimes we have to look extra hard, wait on God and even have doubts. In "finding the good" that is actually part of what built this ministry. There are details and events of our ministry that were created based upon the opposite reaction.
Through all the hurt, the grief and loss, I've finally learned to be thankful. I'm thankful that God has placed so many wonderful friends in my life, as well as my brother's life. The largest portion of our volunteers are personal friends and that always makes every event that much more special.
The name Cook Ministries has absolutely nothing to do with me, but everything to do with my brother and his life. It's all about helping others in memory of my brother, Johnny.
The Bible tells us in Luke 15 the parable of the Lost Sheep, my prayer is that this ministry can reach out to just that one person who's feeling lost and overwhelmed - just one! I pray and believe there will be many more, but the most important thing is that we treat everyone as if they are the only one.
Perhaps it's still my personal grief of what I couldn't do for my brother, I can try to do for someone else but most importantly I'm learning to allow God to use me, no matter what the circumstances are that surround me, God use me to make a difference, use me in the midst of my own faults and failures, use me and I'll go.
Thank you God for my brother's unconditional and protective love I had for 43 years - may my next 43 years be used to serve you, to show that same love my brother showed me and to be a reflection of the true love of Christ!
restore = to reconcile, put back together, to be healed
love = to be kind, patient, to honor
1) To bring something special back, to choose a new beginning
2) To always give second chances
3) To replace rejection with acceptance through deliverance
4) To find our value within
5) To always love God, ourselves & others
Karen is Founder and President, she serves our team as Chaplain and Project Leader.
She holds a cum laude B.A. in Ministry and also serves as volunteer Chaplain with Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. She is a piano player and singer who loves to share her testimony as well as sing for God.
Since 2010 she has served primarily in the Christian Street Ministry atmosphere, filling various leadership roles.
She has spent time serving the homeless, the trafficked and addicts, from being inside recovery centers to being on the streets.
She has taught Recovery inside the jail system, as well as in public settings, and even served as Chaplain at the local police department along side one of her mentors, who helped guide her into finding the path she's on today with suicide prevention.
After her brother died by suicide it was then, that she found herself struggling with the path she was to be on, and it was through that grief and pain, the vision for this ministry began, and is named for her brother, Johnny
John and Kathy are from Alabama and lifelong family friend of the Cook's, as well as Kathy’s entire family.
Kathy serves on our Board of Directors and they both serve as volunteers where and when their help is needed.
You'll also see Kathy at most all of our events greeting people & running our table.
Sheila serves as Mentor and Advisor to our ministry, as well as on our Board of Directors.
She is married to her best friend & biggest supporter; Gary Self and they are founders of The Cross Ministries.
In December 2012 she had a supernatural encounter. She felt the presence of God & was set free from all her sins & delivered from bondage. She was given a new heart, had an open vision & received anointing all in a short time. The experience radically changed her life forever! She had a vision of a sign that read: The Cross that is where everything began.
In January 2015 She started volunteering at a women's home in Cullman. It created a hunger in her to learn more & she found herself growing in a sense of leadership. Soon after a friend invited her to go to the Cullman County Jail & witness to the girls. That very first visit moved her spirit so much that she made it the heart of her ministry.
With the Lord's grace, she continued to pray & after several months she and Gary felt led to open one of their rental properties for a women's home, The Grace House. The Grace House facilitates 10 ladies. Since it has opened she's noticed that the very same changes she saw in the jail are still happening there at the Grace House & the ladies are thriving as they learn who they are in Christ.
As a result, in May 2019 they opened another rental property for their transitional home. A men's & women's home will be coming to Arab soon. She is now serving as Director of The Cross Ministries.
It has been a long hard journey, but it has been worth it. They are both so thankful to God for the transforming work he is doing in their lives.
All praise honor and glory to Jesus Christ our Savior.
Susan serves on our team as Endowment Coordinator.
She is a Clinical Coordinator in the dental hygiene program at Wallace State Community College where she has been a faculty member for the past 24 years.
Prior to that she was a pediatric and special needs dental hygienist in the Birmingham area.
Susan is a mother, daughter, and sister with a heart for service and a love for helping others.
She recently completed QPR Gatekeeper Certification and is a member of several healthcare and education related professional organizations including the Birmingham Women Leaders.
Ty serves on our team as Vice President.
Through years of struggles with addiction he found himself estranged from his family, homeless and at rock bottom. It was there he submitted to God, stopped using drugs and alcohol immediately and by God's grace did not experience any withdrawal symptoms, but found the relationship with God he was created for.
God has since restored the relationship with his children and grandchildren and even blessed him into courting our founder, Karen which led to a Godly covenant ceremony where they held hands for the first time and shared their first kiss surrounded by their children and shared communion as a family.
Ty is now with True Purpose Ministries and pursuing full-time ministry, seeking to help others all while equipping Kingdom Warriors.
Miranda serves as our Intercessory Prayer Warrior.
She has experienced first hand God's miraculous healing power from a sickness that doctor's could not explain or treat, it was then through her physical healing that she realized the importance of prayer for others and her desire to pray for others deepened.
Bro. John serves as Mentor and Advisor to our ministry.
He is founder of Compassion & Hope Food Basket, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides hot meals for the hungry.
He has been going to the streets actively feeding the hungry since 1996 & in 2019 opened the Soup Kitchen in Brent.
It was on the streets in Birmingham AL in 2011 that Bro. John first met our founder; Karen and it was then that God bonded a friendship.
It was Bro. John who helped spark the vision for our program, The Food Basket. and he continuously gives guidance and encouragement not only for that program, but our ministry as a whole.
He continues to teach us that "we get to serve" and to love others.
Rachael serves on our Board of Directors. She is married to her best friend, Jason Justice. She believes God chose her to be the mother of one wonderful child.
Currently God has her serving in Deliverance Ministry, where she has a passion for serving the elderly, homeless and the abused or neglected.
She loves watching God’s people come out of bondage and be healed in Jesus name.
Matthew 10: 1-8
Eddie serves as Advisor, he is a former District Judge and holds a Master's Degree in Christian Apologetics from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
He is Founder/President of Faith Fortress Ministries, organized in training apologetics ministry, their mission field expanded into supporting and establishing an orphanage in Northeast India to the communities of the Naga people.
Captain Potter, as most refer to him as, serves with our team as Leader with the HELLO Program. Ed is Captain at Cullman County Sheriff's Office and has worked in law enforcement for 30 years, currently working with victims of crime & a problem solver for the community. He works with individuals with mental illness, drug addiction, domestic violence, and the elderly. Captain Potter is also a volunteer firefighter with Johnson Crossing Volunteer Fire Department and works with nonprofits and government agencies to make our community a place where families know they are cared for.
Grace serves on our team as leader with the HELLO Program. She has been a licensed professional counselor for eight years, working with adults and adolescents with alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. She was at the Bridge of Cullman for seven years, but recently began her own business, Choice Family Counseling in Hanceville. She is an advocate for children and adults who are challenged with substance abuse and mental illness and has been a member of nonprofits that benefit our community to help those individuals that need a little help with life.
Susan is founder of One Touch Freedom. She serves with our team as Legal Advocate, Certified Counselor and Suicide Awareness Advocate.
She currently assists with various cases at The Lovelady Center and is an advocate at the Pardon and Parole Board in Montgomery AL. She has a passion fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves and loves for God to use her in all areas of His kingdom.
Susan is a Certified Ministry Leader; an Addiction Recovery Certified Christian Counselor, an ordained minister with Joan Hunter Ministries and Heaven of Earth Ministries.
Taylor serves on our team as Director of our Restore Love program designed specifically for Cullman County Child Development Center.
She is mom to three girls, Presley, Aubrie and Oaklie.
Taylor says she is so excited for the opportunity to be a liaison for the Cullman Child Development Center. That school holds such a special place in her family’s hearts as Aubrie is a student there.
Aubrie has chromosome duplication and chromosome depletion; Aubrie is one in less than 10 that have this exact disorder in the entire world. She is a true miracle as many doctors have told them her quality of life is much greater than most others who have the same disability.
Through their many trials of learning the ropes of Aubrie’s disability they have watched God move time and time again and she looks forward to being His hands and feet to help families and see those same Godly moves in the lives of other special needs families.
Taylor has many big ideas for our program and looks forward to seeing it grow and serve the sweetest souls ever at the Cullman County Child Development Center
Jason serves on our team as Director of Isaiah 61.
He proudly served six years in the United States Army and has been in ministry since January 2009.
He is the President of Melita Incorporated Ministries and is the Pastor with W.A.R Recovery, their program designed to deal with the destructive behaviors that led to addictive behaviors.
He is a Certified Counselor with Celebrate Recovery since 2010 and works with various men’s recovery centers and detox facilities in Calhoun, Etowah and Cherokee counties in Alabama.
Jami serves on our team as Director of The Food Basket Cullman.
Jami has been married to Todd Kuykendall for 27 years. They have 1 son and a daughter in love, 2 grandchildren Piper Blake 5 years old and Archer Michael 14 months.
She loves spending time with her family, traveling, camping and riding on the boat. She has been a stay at home house wife since Jan. 2023 and has really been enjoying it. She spends a lot of time at their church, picking up food donations to prepare for The Food Basket.
She loves serving people, but most of all she loves the Lord, her savior and loves to serve Him.
Korey serves on our team as a Suicide Prevention Advocate and Motivational Speaker. He is president of Suicide Prevention & God's Helpers, a Chaplain and a Certified Clinical Christian Counselor. He is a suicide survivor and has a heart to help others.
Brandi serves on our team as Director of The Food Basket – Gadsden and also on our social media team.
She grew up a good kid but with a troubled childhood, she was introduced to drugs and alcohol at the age of 13 and that began a downhill path. At 21 she lost her son who was born stillborn and then her addiction spiraled out of control.
She was in jail when God began to draw her near to Him and work on her heart, He began to show her His purpose for her life. Brandi has a heart for the unloved, forgotten, beaten and ashamed.
She attends Extended Hand Church in Piedmont, where she is currently set aside, meaning that she is set apart for the Master’s use, where she submits to the leadership in the ministry she will be under and Godly mentoring. This entire process is a time of refining her relationship with God and her leadership skills at which point she will become licensed and then an ordained minister.
James Curtis is a Critical Care Paramedic with 28 years of
He is currently the Director of Cullman EMS, a 911 Critical Care EMS operation serving Cullman County and as a Flight Paramedic with Air Evac Life
Team. He serves on the Emergency Operations, Emergency Services, and Cardiovascular Committees at
Cullman Regional Medical Center.
He volunteers his time to serve on the Wallace State and Calhoun
Community Colleges EMS advisory councils. He is also,
an active member of the North Alabama Health Care Coalition. He has served as a consultant to FEMA, as a subject matter expert, on Hospital Emergency Response Training as well as adjunct instructor at Wallace State Community College.
He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and has worked as a security contractor on behalf of the United States Department of
State in the middle east.
He serves with the HELLO Program with Cook Ministries, where he advocates and educates about mental health awareness and facilitates those in our communities searching for help.
Hope serves on our team in all aspects of ministry.
Our namesake, Johnny Cook is her uncle.
She holds a degree in Criminal Justice, has an amazing testimony of how she overcame addiction and is very passionate about helping others through restoration and addiction recovery
Cold Springs, Alabama
Gene is from Alabama.
He has been a lifelong family friend of the Cook’s and serves with our team as volunteer.
Gene is always ready and willing to facilitate any moving, he has a heart to help others & always first in line to see that needs are met to help families
We have many volunteers who help on a regular basis and some periodically, but no matter how often they are with us, they are family, we love & appreciate them and couldn't do all that we do without each one of them.
She serves with our team on our social media team. She facilitates our Facebook page, TikTok & our Facebook grief support group.
Lauren has a heart of encouragement & loves helping others. We are very thankful for her faithfulness to God, to our ministry and to help others!
Rhonda serves with our team as Wrestling Liaison, facilitating our social media with our ministry and the wrestling community.
Our namesake, Johnny Cook was a former wrestler & because of him we have maintained & been active in relationships within the wrestling industry.
Susan serves with our team on our social media team. She facilitates our Facebook page as well as our Facebook grief support group.
Susan has a heart to uplift and encourage others and we are so very thankful for her faithfulness to God and to our ministry and to help others!
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn. To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.