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Friend Report: Helping our neighbors to strengthen Indiana

March 8, 2012

  The month of March always makes me wary.  For many years I have described March as God’s dirty trick to get us from February to April.  Please forgive me if you disagree, but just watch out for the weather!

On Friday, March 2, I had the unique opportunity to give a graduation speech to the GED recipients at the Logansport Juvenile Detention Facility.  The vast majority of Hoosiers are not aware that this place even exists.  This is a facility that does some of the toughest work and that is beneficial to society.  The staff takes young men from 14-21 years of age and guides them through courses that help them to become GED graduates as well as learning social skills that will assist them in being successful in their futures.

This is not a minor type of school that just attempts to educate some juvenile offenders.  The facility is a high security facility that is surrounded by a high fence and razor wire.  When entering, I had to go through the metal detector as well as the pat-down.  I had a guide and was shown the way to the building where the graduation was conducted.  The atmosphere was guarded but friendly, and I was never concerned for my safety.

There were eight graduates and many of their family members were present.  The graduates were quiet and extremely respectful.  I was impressed by their demeanor and how well they received my message.  Having never done a ceremony for this facility, I was able to interact with the administration and the teachers and gained an understanding of the care these officials have for these young men.  It could be that I grew more from this experience than the graduates, but I spoke to them in very positive and encouraging terms.  We should all wish that they move on to more education and training so they can become very productive in our society.  I know that I benefited from the graduation and I hope that they did – and will – as well.

On Friday evening, my family watched with horror and grief the devastation caused by the tornadoes in southern Indiana as well as several other states.  Our fellow Hoosiers who have experienced such devastation need our thoughts, compassion and prayers.  I spoke to several of my colleagues about their constituents and the property damage.  Each one was concerned for their people and their welfare.  It is hard to imagine the circumstances for these victims…homes gone, no utilities, no food or shelter.  It is cold and snowing.  My hope is that all of us who are more fortunate can contribute to the disaster in some way.  Storms like this can devastate our properties, but they cannot destroy our will to live and rebuild.  My wish is that we all find a way to be charitable to our fellow Hoosiers who have been so affected by this natural disaster.  They truly need our help.

We are in the last week of the General Assembly but somehow it is overshadowed by natural disaster.  Let’s keep our perspectives in view and help to do what is right.

More later,

Bill Friend