It's a sad day for journalism in western Michigan.
Pat Shellenbarger, fine writer and investigative reporter for the Grand Rapids Press, has taken early retirement. They said "goodbye" to him yesterday.
Shellenbarger's interest in the plight of prisoners was heightened when he became aware of the Maurice Carter case in the late 1990s. He became a friend of Carter before Maurice's death in 2004, and he worked with me to help find the perpetrator of the crime for which Carter spent 29 years in prison.
In addition to that, he tirelessly investigated other prisoner issues, and dared to tell the truth about prisons and prison personnel. He sought balance and fairness in all of his reports, but he refused to compromise.
I join with prisoners and all who advocate for prisoners in thanking Pat for his courage and integrity, as he repeatedly exposed situations of inappropriate care and/or injustice. Words alone cannot express our gratitude. God knows that he and his quest for truth will be missed.
He's a special friend, and all who know and love him wish him the very best. That's exactly what he gave his readers!
Doug Tjapkes, President
HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS