Anne W. Johnston – Michael’s Mom

Dear Kate,

It was such a pleasure meeting you, no matter how brief, in Vidalia yesterday for Family Day. I have read everything online about you and your family, all of your blogs and am so encouraged for changes in the laws and conditions of incarcerations.

We spoke with Warden Moreles from Coastal State Prison about several issues including the rumors about self-owned wheelchairs. We, my other son and I, explained that Michael’s wheelchair was custom built for his weight and height due to body center of gravity being different and, mainly, due to the loss of frontal weight (about 65 pounds) due to amputation of both legs well above the knee. Regular wheelchairs do not compensate for this. Warden Moreles agreed to allow Michael to keep his wheelchair and, advised us, if repairs and parts needed, that if we could bring repair parts directly to him at the prison, Monday thru Friday, he would meet us at the entrance, personally, and deliver the parts to Mr Milton, Medical Administrator. With a big sigh of relief, Thank You!

We also spoke with Dr. Sauls and he acknowledged the information concerning Michael’s wheelchair and we discussed possible physical therapy (which has been a total joke for the 2 & 1/2 years). No such thing. Michael has 2 sets of prosthetics that have been unused almost the entire length of confinement. The first pair, almost hip high, do not even fit anymore. We also spoke of medications and a few other issues. Dr. Sauls was most understanding and insightful.

I am unable to find words to express how grateful and thankful we are for you and to have met you at this time. Exasperation runs deep. Thank you!

There is a program in Augusta, GA; The Richmond County DUI Court of Accountability which gives second offenders (alcohol and drugs) a chance to change. The course lasts almost a year and is tough and strict. I spoke at the last Graduation, end of August, about the effects on Family of an incarcerated loved one, words learned (i.e. sally-port, etc.) and about choices. This is my first involvement, so to speak, and am told my “talk” had an impact on those present. As the first Mom ever to speak to the graduates, I plan to be involved with this program even though public speaking is way out of my comfort zone. I believe our family situation can help others make better choices and decisions.

I know you are a very busy person and I admire your resolve and strength. I hope we will be able to stay in touch.

Again, I am so grateful