Showing posts from April, 2016

It wasn't a worship service, but God was present!

Somehow it felt like worship.  There was no sermon.  There were no prayers.  Religion wasn’t the topic for the day.  Perhaps it’s just that God was there. Former HFP Board Chairman Dan Rooks and I were in prison yesterday.  We made the long drive to Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, at the request of the local chapter of the National Lifers of America.  We’ve done this presentation quite often now, and each time it’s a pleasurable experience. I talk about HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS, what we try to do for prisoners and also what we absolutely cannot do.  Dan, a clinical psychologist, takes the podium for the second half of our dog and pony show with an actual heavy-duty lecture on anger management. Now one would suspect that putting together nearly 100 prisoners on a Saturday afternoon, sitting on hard bleachers in a noisy gymnasium, there might be a problem keeping the attention and the interest of the audience.  Some guys might be falling asleep.  Others migh

From rags to riches---HFP at work!

Some people think that all we do at HFP is put out fires.  Honestly, we do that quite a bit.  But something happened this week that proves that we are also proactive.  More than 1,000 pounds of yarn were delivered to prisons.  And that wasn’t the first time.  We’ve been doing it for years. Here’s the story.  A member of the HFP Board of Directors, Judy VanderArk, has friends who know people who operate a carpet manufacturing company.  These names may not be revealed. Anyway, this carpet company is willing to give away the unused spools of yarn that go into the creation of beautiful carpeting.  Needless to say, this is expensive, high quality yarn.  Judy has been on our Board for a long time, and she knows that several of the prisons in Michigan have hobby-craft programs that involve knitting and crocheting.  So she made work of asking these prison program coordinators if they would like free yarn.  The response was positive, and so was her reaction.  With husband Pete, Jud

Some thoughts on our personal GPS

My daily calendar of funny sayings joked the other day about a bridge engineer who, on the stand in a court room, was unable to subtract two simple numbers because he didn’t have his calculator with him. I think about my father’s neighborhood grocery store back in the 1940s.  There was no electricity to the checkout counter, because it wasn’t needed.  We used a hand-operated adding machine to tally up the prices.  And then when the customer paid, we had a hand-crank cash register.  It was up to the cashier to figure out how much change to return to the customer. The next time you make a purchase in any kind of a store I’m sure you’ll notice that the cashier cannot figure out how much money to give back until he/she looks at the machine.  If the total isn’t there electronically, the cashier is stumped. Marcia and I just returned from a trip to Alabama.  We didn’t need a road map, like in the olden days.  My little I-Phone gave us instructions all the way there.  A couple ti

Yes, indeed...EVERYBODY counts!

Best-selling novelist Michael Connolly is putting one of my favorite detectives on TV:  Harry Bosch.  I don’t agree with Harry when it comes to the death penalty, and I find his attitude toward criminal defense attorneys distasteful, but I love his dogged determination to solve cases!  I especially like his feelings re the murders of people who don’t rank very high socially.  His slogan:  Everybody counts or nobody counts! That slogan came to mind this week, as I was working on some copy for a book I’m trying to write.  In a chapter dealing with the work of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS, this very subject came up. I cited two cases where, by all outward appearances, HFP failed.  Two prisoners who we worked so hard to help reach freedom dropped the ball after they got out.  One was immediately recaptured by the addiction demons that got him in trouble in the first place.  He died in a drunken stupor, frozen to death in the middle of a field one cold November day.  The second case was