Spanning over 40 years of adventure, Lamar Banister encourages dreamers as he shares his passion for history, leadership and strengthening families. His quest for service-learning through adventure has opened doors of opportunity that continue to mold his life. Lamar sees life as an amazing, unfolding unique map for ordinary people. He is able to quickly grab the imagination of the mind and heart of any age as he challenges his audience to reach beyond the attainable- to live life courageously with dignity, integrity and compassion. For decades displayed on his headmaster’s door was a red-circled sign with a slash: NO CAN’T.
From living alone as a young carpenter in a beach house under construction with open walls, no water, bathrooms or electricity; to living in an original pioneer’s log homestead cabin in the Rockies- no water, with only an outhouse and wood stove; he has had many unique career experiences. These have included walking steel girders on high rises and bridges as an steelworker, on the “dynamite crew” blowing up the riverbed for bridge foundations, factory worker, cook, landlord, live-in juvenile corrections officer with teen felons and a residential program with high-adventure mountaineering wilderness survival training for severely emotionally disturbed youth.
Lamar and the love of his life, Marjorie, established one of the first independent living facilities nationally in Boulder, Colo. for the mentally handicapped. Later, starting with teaching seven grades in one small room, they co-founded and administrated a successful accredited K-12 Christian school for 20 years while serving in full-time ministry as assistant pastor helping to build a church from 30 members to approx. 4,000 by establishing and overseeing numerous departments. Some of these included Marrieds and Men’s ministry, recreation ministry for all ages, and the Children, Youth, Elderly and Handicapped ministries while establishing the largest chartered Royal Rangers scout outpost in Virginia’s Southern Section at the time.
Lamar has been a conference planner and speaker on numerous occasions and, as headmaster, was privileged to travel to Nigeria, Africa and El Salvador, Central America, speaking to hundreds of pastors and educators at national conferences to help establish Christian schools. In summer’s past he was part of a missionary expedition team of 16 men to build two churches in the mountains and tropics of Honduras, camping in primitive conditions with no natural water source.
Throughout this period he has developed numerous historic interpretive and illustrated presentations that have included sculpture, woodcarving, dramatizations, playing as many as 30 musical instruments (some of which he has made) and giving hands-on demonstrations of pioneer life to hundreds of participants a day. His authentic one-man Wild West Medicine Show has been featured twice on TV by the Virginia Currents PBS TV program. This series as well as CBS 6 Good Morning Virginia also featured his numerous living history high school programs covering major periods of history from Stone Age through the Cold War. He's acted in two movies: Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and To Have and to Hold and recently in the A&E TV series- TURN. Go to YouTube: Lamar Banister Characterization and side bars; and #2604 Virginia Currents TV to see Lamar in the second feature.
Our Nation Divided , is a fascinating ½ Union ½ Confederate characterization of the life of a Civil War soldier as he demonstrates the trials, equipment and music to commemorate the 150th anniversary of this crucible of American history. Additionally, he authored and plays in Split Decision , a dramatic production about a runaway slave and former owner raised up together who meet in surprise mortal combat, recognize each other in a fateful split second and reminisce on the eve of the tragic Battle of the Crater in Petersburg.
Banister has a Masters in Educational Administration. In 2015 he was Teacher of the Year at his high school and before that was nominated to represent the school for Gilder Lehrman's History Teacher of the Year as a high school World/US and Virginia History and Special Education teacher. Lamar is a contract historic interpreter and period musician featured by numerous museums, US Government and other city, county, public and private schools, church and scout events.
Lamar and Marjorie have served in lay ministry for families, as marriage counselors and on the Parent Council for James Madison University. Marjorie is currently Administrative Coordinator for the Robbins School of Business at the University of Richmond. Lamar also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for YWAM Richmond (Youth With A Mission). Having enjoyed a dream European tour of nine countries and completing a summer road trip out West not long age, they reside happily in Richmond, Va. where they serve in their church and have raised three wonderful children active in music, film and international missions with seven grand-children!