A fair number of years ago some people came into the lives of my high school friends and I back in Lake Forest, Illinois. Their organization was Young Life. The message was acceptance / which is exactly what kids want but not necessarily from adults. On top of it these people purveyed Christianity which was completely uncool. Yuck… religion. My concept of a good time was carnality. Let’s hear it for appearances, sex and possessions!
These Young Life folks came around and spent time just listening to me and the others in my group. They came to our games, concerts… they even showed up when we had problems with the authorities and advocated for us. Huh? What the hell?
I succumbed. I was a sucker for the love and acceptance. No strings / just take it or leave it stuff.
Spirituality became cool. It great to hang around with kids who weren’t afraid to talk about it. We’d lay around this old guy’s living room on Friday nights and do music and intellectual conversations. Being one who’s always believed in speaking truth I decided that applied to the issues of the soul too. My priorities shifted. Instead of pleasure I started seeking meaning. It wasn’t a bad trade / I’d pretty much sucked at being a player. The new family I’d joined helped me start build a stronger sense of self and my relationships with the world. I spent some wandering and looking for the right place to settle / started and failed at relationships; but was able to keep plugging away until things finally stabilized and, with the help of some great mentors and scholars and my beautiful wife Mi and step-sons Jakob and Simon, I started an organization whose aim is to keep the fires of love burning through community and prison outreach. The meaning of life is pretty simple / love God and the folks around you and things fall into place.
I’m an inmate at Airway Heights Correctional Facility in Airway Height Washington. I’ve know Gib Pellet for approximately 8 years. I became interested in Gib when I overheard another inmate talking to him on the phone.
When the conversation ended I asked this guy who he’d been talking to because he seemed really happy, like he was in a lot better place than before the conversation. He gave me Gib’s contact information and I wrote Gib a letter. The result has changed my life.
Gib’s not only become my friend and flown all the way to Washington State to visit me, he’s spent hundreds of dollars of his own money and probably as many hours helping me market my leather work and communicate with family members and attorneys and has worked tirelessly to get my sentence overturned. Prison is a horrific place and a place where hope doesn’t exist for a lot of us on the inside.
Because of my relationship with Gib I feel hopeful and I have stronger faith in God and the way love can overcome evil. – Scott
To whom it may concern:
Not a lot of people care about guys in jail. Gib Pellet and his friends have reached out to me and take the time to call and write letters and also help with things like extra clothes and funds for media and healthy snacks.
More important than those things is our friendship and Gib and Diane and Russell drive an hour each way about once a month to visit me. It really means something to guys in jail to have people who are willing to take time out of their days to be our friends when it seems like we’re otherwise forgotten.
When I get out now I will have people I can say will help me which makes a big difference in dealing with parole boards. I hope Gib’s organization Common Ground Outreach gets your support and keeps growing because they are doing great things for people in prison.
-Montana / Oak Park Heights Corrections Center