Rev. Willie J. Cook, Mt. Hermon AME Church.

Rev. Willie J. Cook, Mt. Hermon AME Church. (Michael Francis McElroy, Sun Sentinel / July 27, 2010)

Rev. Willie J. Cook

Other job experience: Churches in Tampa, Gainesville, Homestead and Inverness

Education: Degree in business administration, Florida A&M University; master's degree in divinity, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta

Personal: Age 56; born in Lakeland, resident of Pembroke Pines since 1994

Family: Married to Dorothy, a special education teacher for Dade County Schools. Four children

How could you live in Pembroke Pines while serving churches around Florida?

Technically, you're supposed to move around, but my wife and I wanted stability. So on Monday, I would drive to the church and, Thursday afternoon, I'd come back home. Then I'd go back on Saturday morning, and, on Sunday evening, I'd come back home.

Those are incredible lengths to go for your family.

My wife has been very supportive. And for me, it's therapeutic. It's time to be alone in prayer.

Do you have a family emphasis in your ministry, too?

Yes, we help a lot of couples who ask how we make it work. I tell them that family comes first, then ministry. People embrace that.

How did you get into your vocation?

I worked in accounting for 16 years for BellSouth, but I felt a calling deep in my spirit. I finally said, "Lord, if you want me to be a minister, open doors for me to go to seminary." It took seven years, but it happened.

Favorite pastime?

Going to the mountains, taking nature walks. I love the Smoky Mountains and Yosemite.

Favorite vacation spot?

For my wife and me and our oldest son, one of the most beautiful places is Maui. It's remote and has beautiful water and views. And the highway winds for hours.

Favorite TV shows?

We usually watch with our son, so we pick channels like Discovery or Animal Planet.