Sunday, March 2, 2014

Heroes behind bars? You bet!

The whole concept of heroes sometimes bothers me.

The people who are referred to as heroes in the media today often aren't my heroes.

When I was an active newsman, I liked to pay tribute to the most unlikely of heroes: the caregivers in nursing homes, the cops and firemen, ambulance personnel, school bus drivers.

Today, in my third and final career, I see many real heroes. And they're in prison.

Let me list a few:

The guy who decides to run interference for a dying inmate who is being harassed by guards because of the large hernia lump in his abdomen

The guy who agrees to let a handicapped inmate who must walk in a crouching position cling to his belt, despite the teasing and taunting from staff

The guys who keep their faith, even though being wrongly convicted on sex charges due to false testimony by ex-wives, former girlfriends, and naughty school kids

The guy who should have been released by the Parole Board long ago, but instead of pouting leads a daily Bible study

The guy who knows he's in prison for a reason, but dares to say that his co-defendant was railroaded and is not guilty

The girl who begs for someone to befriend a senior citizen who the courts claim was responsible for the death of a grandchild, because she now feels alone and abandoned behind bars

The girl who chooses to make a monthly donation to HFP, even though she earns less than 90 cents a day

The girl who refuses to waste her time moping, and leads a committee in the National Lifers Association to seek legislation for judicial reform

The guy who listens to the stories of inmates returning from public hearings, and publishes a guideline for others to better prepare for these hearings

The guys and the girls who are concerned about the attitudes of young inmates just arriving, and use their spare time for mentoring

And this is the tip of the iceberg. Matt and I encounter these heroes every day.

An HFP salute to these unsung heroes. May God continue to bless them and raise up more.

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