Showing posts from October, 2016

Hospice care is coming!

The note in my mail simply said:  We did it!  Thank you! I knew exactly what Sybil was talking about.  She’s an inmate at WHV, Michigan’s only state prison for women based in Ypsilanti, and she was forwarding to me a memo that had been circulated among the inmates.  The printed message was seeking volunteers for a new Hospice Program being developed at that facility.  What a milestone! The hospice-care-for-prisoners concept goes back a long way.  Over the past 15 years my heart has been broken, time after time, over the conditions in which many of our prisoners spend their final days and hours.  I’m especially sensitive to all of this because my wife Marcia, a specially-trained hospice nurse, spent more than a decade in a local hospice program.  So, HFP began the long journey of trying to get some kind of hospice-type care into our state prison system. 2013 Following a series of meetings with representatives of Hospice of Michigan, we orchestrated a meeting with Mi

I may not be the best one to talk about anger

Many years ago I spoke at a prayer breakfast.  I had recently assumed the prestigious position of President and General Manager of Radio Station WGHN in Grand Haven, and I was still in my 20s.  I knew a lot in those days.  The topic of my remarks was “Righteous Indignation,” and I pointed out that even Jesus got angry with the money changers in the temple…that, if for the right reasons, it was OK to get angry. Well, there are some things that still make me angry, but I must admit that many, many years later, my thoughts have tempered on the subject of anger.  I’m hearing and reading about anger at levels higher than I can ever remember in my 80 years on this earth. The newspapers, the TV, social media, are all bursting with vitriolic comments. Time to take a deep breath. I’ve found three quotes that I appreciate:  one from a famous philosopher, one from the brother of Jesus, and one from a theologian.  Here goes: On anger: “Anybody can become angry — that is easy,

Which is it: penny-wise/pound foolish or cruelty and unusual punishment?

So when does being penny-wise but pound-foolish get reduced to something that is considered cruel and unusual? Let me give you some examples. Mr. C is a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair.  Because of his situation he must use a catheter to empty his bladder.  The physician on our advisory panel says this must be done at least three times a day, or else the patient will be exposed to significant risk.  Yet, the prisoner claims he is given only 7 catheters per week, allowing him to empty his bladder just once a day, or forcing him to use an unsterile catheter for repeat usage.  Is the little bit of savings really worth the risk? I’ve told the story of Ms. D before…she’s experiencing some sign of dementia, has numerous health problems, and is forced to use a colostomy bag.  A while back we heard from the prisoner aide who tries to assist her that, on a given day, the patient was not allowed to get a new colostomy bag.  “They told her she should rinse the bags out in toilet

Wanna know why HIS MEN are called HIS MEN?

It was no surprise when members of HIS MEN sang at the bedside of one of their own yesterday.  It just goes to show how they---humbly, yet proudly---carry the name HIS MEN! As the founder/director of this fine singing group exactly 44 years ago, I had a vision that we would not be participating in, what I called “the church hit parade,” performing in worship services throughout the area.  We weren’t interested in getting on the charts, making powerful videos, and recording hits for the religious radio stations.  They still aren’t. Our goal, from the very beginning, was simply to reach out.  And so, for the next four decades, their voices would be heard in hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, assisted living centers, rescue missions, county jails, and state and federal prisons.  The group is larger now (we started with just 13 men).  There’s a different director now (I stepped down after serving the first 21 years).  And there are only three charter members still in the chorus

When prisoners wish time stood still

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,… The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.  Joshua 10:13. I’m sure we’ve all had experiences where we wished time would simply stand still. I clearly remember a time in my life when my world was crashing all around me, and I was about to lose my business…a business I loved.  Marcia and I had taken a short getaway in Florida before everything came to an end.  On our last day there, as I stood alone on the end of a dock, I wished time would stand still.  I didn’t want to face the music. Let me explain the reason for this blog…it all stems from a recent prison visit. I was part of a group of three who went to prison not only to discuss business, but to just share love and concern with a prisoner who has been wrongly convicted.  Having spent more than 15 years behind bars for something he didn’t do, Mr. D treasures visits like these. And

WC Day is past, but many wrongly convicted remain behind bars

Consider this scenario. It’s the end of the week on a beautiful autumn day.  As you look out your office window over the city skyline, you reflect on the good things.  You didn’t always have an office in this nice building.  Your income wasn’t always this good.  It took time and elbow grease.  You didn’t arrive here by accident, but it feels pretty darn good.  Even though your marriage had not been the best, and your wife died in a tragic accident, you’re a survivor.  Your two kids love you, and your future looks rosy. That is, until four men in suits walk in.  A rather strange sight late on a Friday afternoon, when business usually winds down.  Your secretary is asked to step out of the room for a moment, as you wonder what the heck is going on.  From that moment on, your life was never the same.  Your rights were read to you by one of the stern individuals, your shaking hands were placed in handcuffs, and you were led off to jail, faced with a charge of killing your spouse.