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POSTED: July 5, 2010 10:52 a.m.
In spite of their hectic schedules, a group of busy, local Christians have decided it’s time to get away. On July 10-17, they will escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and spend a week in paradise.
Victor Shanks, owner of VHS Financial Services in Hinesville, said he sees the need for people to get away from the chaos of everyday life and relax. Consequently, several years ago, he started organizing and coordinating Christian cruises to different islands. The getaways allow participants to come together and enjoy fellowship outside of church. The annual cruise is billed as “The Shanks Family and Friends Cruise.”  
“We go every other year,” Shanks said.
He is a retired sergeant first class with 21 years of military service and is accustomed to organizing large events. Last year, when world-renowned spiritual leader Dr. Juanita Bynum conducted a two-night revival at his church, Tabernacle of Prayer for All People, Shanks was instrumental in working with Bynum’s staff to make arrangements for her visit to Hinesville.
“The cruises are a time of fun and relaxation with family and friends. This year, the group will be on the Carnival Dream Ship. The ship is scheduled to stop in Cozumel, Island Raton, Belize and Costa Maya,” said Inez Shanks, Victor Shanks’ wife and VHS co-founder.
“We will be departing from the Super Walmart at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 10 and stopping in St. Augustine, Fla., for breakfast and shopping. Our cruise ship leaves Port Canaveral, Fla., at 4 p.m.,” Inez Shanks said. “We have 78 people who will be going on the cruise. They are coming from Montana, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, California and Georgia. One lady is 80 years old and this is her first cruise.”
“Ann Hammon (a retired fifth-grade school teacher from Orange County. Calif.) will be joining us on this cruise. She and her fifth-grade class met Victor when he was in the military,” Inez Shanks said.
“While [I was] assigned to Fort Stewart, her class wrote to [soldiers], and Maj. Gen. Barry McCaffrey (who was the division commander at that time) selected me to go to California and visit Ms. Hammon’s class ... I became friends with Ms. Hammon and her class,” Victor Shanks said.
“In addition to people coming from outside the state, people from our church, my job and 12 of our family members are also attending,” Inez Shanks said. Two chartered buses will transport the group from Hinesville to Port Canaveral.
In addition to her job as a minister at Tabernacle of Prayer, Inez Shanks serves as a Sunday school teacher and president of the Lady Pastor’s Aid Ministry. Additionally, she works in the neurology department at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Victor Shanks is a deacon at Tabernacle and serves as the financial advisor. He also volunteers with the Kirk and Kornegay Healing Center, the County’s Next Step Program and the Liberty County YMCA. He uses his financial expertise to teach budgeting and financial management classes to organizations and churches, as well as assisting Next Step Program clients in finding a place to stay and employment.
The Shanks have five children, Victor, Marcus, Dennis, Janell and Melody, and 10 grandchildren. Their sons are going with them on the cruise. “Marcus is in the Air Force in Virginia, and Victor is in the Air Force in Montana,” Inez Shanks said.
Victor Shanks said he appreciates his office staff at VHS for helping him plan the cruise. Anyone who wants to be a part of the next “Shanks Family and Friends Cruise” can call Shanks at 408-7777.

Anderson is the author of “Lack of Knowledge” and “Dare to Soar.”
 

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