We love this time of year. The cooler weather, the bright colors on the tress, and the anticipation of the holidays right around the corner are some of the reasons fall is our favorite season. We love fall because Ron came home from prison in the fall. September 2006 brought great joy to our family. We will never forget the drive home. The rays of the sun were shining through the multi-colored leaves that lined both sides of the highway. The leaves waved to us as we drove by—and the world seemed to be celebrating Ron’s release with us. It was an epic moment for us.
How very different that drive was from those we had taken in the fall of 1991.
In September 1991, we were taking separate trips. Ron in the back of a sheriff’s car after the trial and Cathy was driving back home alone. That fall season in 1991 pitched our family into the pain-filled journey of our lives, prison. Navigating through those 15 years of jail, we redefined our family in ways we could never have imagined when we took those very different drives.
Our family grew stronger across the years, not because of chance, but because of choice.
We didn’t set out to help other families become stronger and overcome the challenges of prison. We set out to save our family from destruction. We refused to be defined by others. We knew it was time to make changes instead of excuses. The rides we each took in September of 1991 are also notorious in our family as that was the beginning of a new legacy for us.
You have been called by your shame for too long.
Many of you have forgotten what it feels like to be called by your name. Your shame is not who you are. It is not your name. Your number, your conviction, your lowest moments do not define you unless you choose to let them. You have an incredible opportunity to build a new legacy by defining who you are. Take advantage of this time to establish your family for future success. Only you can set a new course where you are called by your name instead of your shame.
Come on, TYROs, let’s change the world as men and women worth following!
We are rooting for you-
Ron and Cathy