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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Working with inmates gives volunteer new perspective

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Volunteer Robert Walsman addresses graduates and guests during the PLUS program ceremony Monday at the Putnamville Correctional Facility.
PUTNAMVILLE -- On Monday, 174 offenders were recognized for their successful completion of the spiritual and character-based Purposeful Living Unit Serve (PLUS) program at the Putnamville Correctional Facility (PCF).

The ceremony commenced with a welcome and opening remarks by PCF Superintendent Stanley Knight followed by an introduction of the keynote speaker by Beckie Bennett, assistant superintendent of re-entry at the correctional facility.

"I, too, congratulate you on your achievement," Bennett said. "And, I extend my appreciation to program coordinators Mr. Kum-aran, Mrs. Kortum for ensuring that that the program runs smoothly.

"But, special recognition goes to our program volunteers," Bennett continued. "Volunteers like today's keynote speaker, Robert Walsman. The services that he and numerous others provide to you and to the program are invaluable. Through their efforts, you have been able to forge new, productive relationships that have been an essential element of your success during incarceration."

Bennett continued her introduction of Walsman, stating that the Indianapolis resident had been a volunteer at Putnamville for the past two years and had donated countless hours to the program, working side by side with the PLUS graduates.

"Working with you has changed my life," Walsman told the graduates during his remarks. "Seeing things from your perspective has given me a greater appreciation of the interpersonal relationships in my life."

The ceremony ended with testimonials from program graduates Earnest Collier, 47, and Stephen Hatton, 31, both inmates from Indianapolis.

Hatton, who is serving a sentence for dealing methamphetamine, internalized his address stating, "Ultimately what PLUS means to me is service, regeneration, growth and transformation."

Convicted murderer Collier concluded saying, "Better comes at the end of something rather than at the beginning, and that's what the PLUS program is all about ... getting better."

Immediately following the ceremony the graduates and guests enjoyed refreshments that were prepared and served by PCF culinary art students.

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