Final copy for the February HFP newsletter just went to the printer. This will be a “happy” edition, in contrast to some where we tell stories of sad prisoner plights. But I can tell you this: We made no mention of our failures. That kind of news certainly would not please those who support us with their dollars. Instead, we tuck them away, quoting the old cliché: Grin and bear it!
We made no mention of the fact that women in one prison unit at Huron Valley have been without heat for 6 weeks now, temps haven’t gotten above 55 degrees, many are getting sick, there are no extra blankets or clothes. So far, nothing we’ve tried is working.
We didn’t talk about old man John. Prisoners say, “…they took his wheelchair, cane, C-Pap machine and a number of other health care items, all out of retaliation. He does have a walker right now but still they torture him.” So far, we’ve been ineffective.
We didn’t run any story about the court’s mistakes in Joe’s case, even though the publicity might get him a new trial. That’s because we’re not attorneys, we’re not an Innocence Project, and we don’t take on legal cases. But it feels like we’re saying, “Sorry, not interested.”
Many prisoners are asking us to help them prepare applications for a commutation of their sentence…something we offer at no charge. We don’t tell about the guy who didn’t hear about us until too late, and spent $9,500 of his poor mother’s money on a “professional” who put together a slick document. It was rejected. His hope for freedom is gone, and so is his money.
We were asked by an inmate to help Bill, a senior citizen diagnosed with cancer. We tried to reach out by email in a timely manner, but we were told, “He was so happy to hear from you, but then he had a terrible stomach ache and they rushed him to the hospital.” For all we know, we were too late.
These stories don’t make good copy, and they don’t raise money. But they reflect a very real part of what goes on in this office. And the emotions that accompany failure.
Sir Winston Churchill is quoted as saying: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
Mebbe so, but I like this quote better, the one that our friend Bob Bulten puts in his emails…a statement by Bob Pierce.
"May my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God"