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  • Doug Tjapkes

It's not a relaxed pace, Maurice! Belated Happy Bday!

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Maurice Carter’s birthday quietly slipped past yesterday. All of his friends still living huddled in their homes, fearing for their lives in the midst of a pandemic. Marcia and I, now 83 years of age, remained in seclusion nursing our own non-virus respiratory ailments. No celebrations. Not even any quiet observances. He deserved better.

Maurice Henry Carter would have been 76 on March 29. We lost him in 2004, just three months after his release from prison.

BUT, what a legacy!

Today, HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS is thriving, although not quite the way Maurice had envisioned it.

How he loved to fantasize about how it would be someday. Maurice had persuaded me to get this organization started already at the turn of the century. We officially became a non-profit organization in 2001.

“I can see us now,” Maurice would say to me. “We’ll have a big table in our office. You and I will sit around that table, reviewing cases of prisoners, and deciding which one we’re going to help.”

Well, that’s just not the way things turned out, Maurice.

Probably because of the coronavirus scare and the panic being felt by 38,000 men and women in Michigan’s 30 prisons, there were 87 email messages waiting for us when the business week got started this morning. In addition to that, there were 31 letters in our post office box from even more prisoners. And we didn’t decide which one to help. We chose to help them all!

Our son Matthew was a young staffer for the Grand Haven Tribune when he took that photo of Maurice holding his release papers, as he walked out of prison in 2004. Today, Matt is our CEO, heading up a team of 5 plus a battery of volunteers. This month we will have responded to a record number of contacts---nearly 1,500!

Maurice would love my vision. It is my hope that eventually there will be a chapter of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS in every state, helping prisoners in our own unique one-on-one style with their personal issues when they don’t know where to turn.

RIP, Maurice.

You done good!

We’ll carry on!

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