Dick Hunt's Blog

February 4, 2010

Monty Tucker – Bar Manager and other inmates

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 7:19 pm

Monty Tucker – Bar Manager
and other inmates.
by  Dick Hunt.  February 4th, 2010.
During my years as Pastor of a Church in Campbell  River, B.C. , I was employed for a time as part time Chaplain at a Medium Security Prison in the area. To say the least, it was a great learning experience for me.  I normally spent a day a week out there, joining the staff and inmates for meals and activities and for one on one chats where indicated by the inmates.  It turned out that most of my time was used in that way.
One of men I spent a good deal of time with was a Heroin addict and while I knew him he was free of the addiction.  He was a delightful chap and he was concerned about his coming release, for he had no local links outside, other than me.  In discussion with the officer in charge of the Prison, he assured me that Monty wouldn’t last six months “outside” and bet me $20 . I took the bet but he refused to pay me.  Ruth and I talked the matter over and decided to offer him a bed in our home and a key to our house while he found a job and a place to live on his own.  He found a job at a local Hotel  and asked me to vouch for him as to his integrity and character, which I did.  Initially he was an employee part time, but was efficient and reliable and in due course became Bar Manager.  He lived at the Hotel from then on.  He also met a fellow employee and they fell in love and asked me to officiate at their wedding, which I did.  When we left the Community some years later he was still employed there and happily married. And he was grateful for having his friend outside.
Another chap, around 20 years of age, was in Jail having been charged by his girl friend with stealing two dollars from her.  He was somewhat naive and uncertain, as a result  of being afflicted with mild Schizophrenia. He had an aunt living nearby on an adjacent Island who was sure he did not  steal from his girl friend.  And she knew about his mild Schizophrenia and wanted to vouch for him.  Then the young man’s Mother passed away in Ontario and he asked to be allowed compassionate leave to attend her funeral. He was refused and that was where things  turned nasty.  However, his release  date came up and he was set free.  As with Monty, Ruth and I gave him a bed in our house, helped him to get a job as a delivery driver for a Pizza business and he sailed along  happily. Eventually he fell afowl of the law again due to his illness and this time he was sentenced to spend time in William Head Federal Prison near Victoria.  He was kept for a time in solitary and became violent, still not diagnosed as Schizophrenic.  He went missing from excercise time one day and tried to swim to freedom, losing his life in the process.  A sad ending to a sad tale.
A third man with whom I spent prime time was an older fellow who had been in prison for about  forty of his 55 years.  He had never been a violent man and had no addictions other than gambling which was his nemesis. He was clever at his skill of false pretences and forgery etc. He was a very interesting fellow and we shared many interests. One of the stories  he shared with me was a time of three years when he was employed in the shipping department of a large lumber mill.  All was going very  well and he was happy in the job.  Eventually he was head of the department.  Then one day the owner called him and gave him his dismissal.  Asked why, he said that  one of his biggest  customers told him the man said he recognized him as a “jail bird” and that if he didn’t fire the man he would withdraw his business.  He was so embittered and hurt that he ran afowl of the law again and was back in jail.  That is when I met  him.  Without support and trust outside prison walls, it is very difficult to get back into society. When his parole was again aproaching, he was given a positon at a fire lookout in the Cariboo mountains.  On one occasion  I was allowed to make a supply run up there with a staff member from the Jail.  There I met his wife  and she was a lovely person.  They seemed very happy together and I am sure that she was a woman of strong character  and great staying power. That was the last contact I had with him.  And then there was Whitey Anderson, in and out of Jail for years because of his Alcoholism.  He was a likeable fellow, tied the best casting flies ever, a fine wood crafter. Once when he was out of jail he approached me in the mall downtown and said, in his lush voice,  “Padre, I need ‘leven  dollarsh.  I  said, “Whitey I love you too much to give you eleven dollars”.  “Well, then I need ten dollarsh”, he said.  We settled for a pat on the back.  He had a shack on the bank of the Campbell River for when he was home.  He scorned AA and wouldn’t listen to them.   But then, without anyone’s help that anyone could  detect, he quit drinking, cold turkey with a bottle of booze in his fridge and never drank again.  A remarkable man, He knew fish and fishing and gear with the best of them.  Made the greatest herring rakes ever.  And he had many good friends, for he was  a generous man.
Ruth and I went with a retired couple to California one year in February and stayed with them in the homes of various of their friends from days of their employment  there.  One such couple in Riverside California were members of an organization called “Friends Outside”. They were people who befriended prisoners  and helped them  ease back into society and employment and the social life of the Community. They were largely members of various Churches. This couple was  delightful and happy.  We learned a lot from them.  And their work was fruitful.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Dick Hunt's Blog

Dick Hunt's 92+ years of history

%d bloggers like this: