I Am A Volunteer

“Not many people know about my bad boy days. I was charged with ‘Conspiracy to Traffic’ and received a six-year prison sentence. I didn’t like having my freedom taken away from me – I made a promise to myself that I would never forget my time inside and that I would never go back. Six months after my release, I felt like I was forgetting how painful my experience was. That’s when I decided to start volunteering for the Calgary John Howard Society (CJHS) by going to schools and speaking about my experience. It gave me an opportunity to reach out to students in hopes that they would make better decisions, while also keeping the memory of going to prison foremost in my mind. I was fortunate to eventually find employment with an entity where a few did know of my past, but I realized this past had no reflection on what I had to offer. I was able to work at a job that paid a good wage and allowed me to retire comfortably at 65. During that time, I also sat on John Howard Society boards locally, provincially and nationally for 16 years – now I sit on a not-for-profit board in support of seniors’ housing. I applied for and received a pardon (now a record suspension) after retirement – more out of curiosity than need. I have been living two lives since my release from prison. One with my longtime friends and associates at CJHS and one with all of the other people I have met since who have no idea of my past, including most of my family members. I appreciate my good fortune and continue working to ease the discomfort of those less fortunate. I am currently helping five people with their record suspension applications and three of them are barely making enough money to survive. I am also constantly approaching all levels of government to tell them that they need to ease the record suspension process, and more importantly the cost. I’ll keep that up until it happens.”