Interview by Abernathy Cochran intern and Gainesville High junior Donangelo Marshall
Meet Elain Ellerbe! She is the president & CEO of Refined By Fire Ministries, Inc., a nationally recognized initiative with an initial mission to provide faith-based programming in adult and juvenile correctional facilities. She also is the coordinator of Hall is Home which provided Christmas gifts for over 400 children in the custody of the Hall County foster care system. She loves to help others and is very kindhearted.
She has lived in Hall County for the last two years and moved to the area from Louisiana to be with her daughter, Ari, and her family.
We want to thank Elain for spending time with us recently and telling us more about her life and love of Hall County.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: “The short answer is God, the more descriptive answer is the fact that I’ve always been an individual that wants to help others and I have a big heart. I try not to do what’s already been done before, I want to try to make things better than I found them. Always try to do things to the best of our ability and when there’s obstacles or things that don’t make sense, that we figure out a way to knock those down and move forward.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “J Christophers, they have some great unique meals and they just opened up and they’re great. Second would be Moonies BBQ, at J Christophers I really like the eggs benedict for breakfast and at lunch, they have this great chicken salad I love to get.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “I’m not much for foreign travel so I’d like to go to New York City, that’s my place. I did some ministry there first and then my daughter did an internship there for the summer with the Metropolitan Baptist Association. We actually spent some time up there right after 9/11, we went to hospitals and fire stations and had a cooking crew that came with us from Louisiana that cooked Gumbo for everyone. We ended up getting to do a concert in Central Park working with the Baptist Association and it was a really beautiful thing we gotta do.”
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: “I’m a very big Marvel fanatic, I actually just read an article today that movies are really good for your heart. When my husband passed one of the things I would do to treat myself was to go see a movie and help myself feel good. I would go to a movie that was almost like an adventure so ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ was one of the first ones I went to he passed and that’s what got me into Marvel.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Find something to make the world better, even if it’s just within your family. Find something to do and try to leave things better than you found them.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “I want to see Lady Gaga in concert.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “I’m a big Heart fan, Lady Gaga, and my go-to Christian music right now is Lauren Daigle.”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Hall County?
A: “It’s someplace we can still go and have community events in a small safe environment. I also love that we still have a farmers market and they still promote it.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five 10 years?
A: “Hopefully still helping out in the community and help make a difference.
Q: What 3 words or phrases that come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Love, family, and blessings”
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “That I spent 20 years doing prison ministry and prison reentry work. Also that I helped develop the Incarcerated Father Program for the state of Louisiana.”
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: “I would say physical fitness trainer. If I could get somebody that would drag me out of bed in the morning and get me going I’d do stuff. My daughter made a pact with her neighbor across the street and they get up and meet each other at 5:30 in the morning and do some really hardcore stuff. My daughter Ari isn’t only an Attorney but she is a licensed certified yoga instructor in something call Pound.”