Bio sent to KRCL 90.9 FM radio –for Sunday, Jan. 2nd 2015 interview
Because I am an actual hands-on, blue collar, working plumber, that has to do jobs as they show up – including emergencies; yesterday I had two broken/ frozen pipe jobs I had to take care of and did not get home until 9:00, last night/ New Year’s Eve. That is part of my bio, also I guess.
But going back – In January of 1988 the police got a No-knock/ NO-Announce search warrant - wherein during their forced [No-Announce] entry one of the officers was shot. While in prison working on my Post-Conviction Appeal. And [I thought] looking real good on proving police perjury and their intentional obstruction of justice to get their pound of flesh. And thus looking good for some kind of Wrongful Conviction compensation see https://sites.google.com/site/aquestforjustice/
I initially came up with this 'Scholarship idea’ way back then ….
Well I never did beat it or get it overturned and certainly never got any money, thus reliving me of any [self-imposed] obligation for creating this scholarship. Well maybe not; a good idea or good deed is still good. [Thank God that my daughters are doing well], and I’m doing medium-alright.
I did 17 years in prison (getting out in Nov. of 2004) and another 3 years on parole; going to school to get my Plumbing License renewed and working as a plumber ever since [getting out]. The Recession back in and around 2008 hit every body hard; and I went out on my own. By the end 2010, I was doing medium alright (and my daughters were doing well) I decided/ re-decided to do the Scholarship.
You would think that it would be easy to give away money – not as easy as you’d think. Especially to do it the way you want and to do it right (501, C, 3 legal) that took me almost 2 years thousands of emails, cold calls, letters, visits… to finally hook up with Fraser Nelson and the Community Foundation of Utah (also fairly new then). So it was late in 2012 that I had $5,000 + in the Scholarship account fund and ready to start accepting Applications for our 2013 Scholarships (due my Feb. 28th)
I was expecting maybe 2, 4 possibly 6 at the most1, probably medium good students (C+. B’s; 2.4, 3.3 GPA’s) and thought that we would probably be handing out one or two Scholarships. I was blown away; overwhelmed when we got a dozen just super fantastic applicants with GPA’s up in the 3’s to 4.
WHO and how do you choose, who is going to get one2 and who do you have to say no to. (This still tears me up a bit).
Luckily some other family members and good hearted donors also made some donations. But even in giving out four Scholarships. What about all the rest of our great applicants???? I ended up hitting up some local friends and business for some gift certificates – just to help acknowledge their efforts….. (and was able to hand out $70 worth of SWAG that year and closer to $125 this last year for each of our [qualified] applicants. I am probably the only Scholarship that does that. http://www.willytheplumberscholarship.net/other-major-supporters
I would also like to give a ‘shout out’ to the Utah state prisoners – this year they have also come up with about $500 (the women; $450 and the men another $50) ultimately I would like the inmates make up the majority of the scholarship money (I’m not getting any younger) BUT hope and expect that it will still be going after I’m gone.
The Recipients thus far
Four more 2014 recipients [$3500] plus $127 in gift certificates for each applicant plus another $125 to a specific one. The recipients are:
Raunie Lindberg from Salem going to Snow College
Ashley LaRene Black from Salem going to BYU
Abigail Bowcut from Clinton going to the U
Selena Montoya from Murray going to the U
(again there were more deserving applicants that we just did not have money for)
2013 We gave out $3,500 in Scholarships to four deserving recipients. We also handed out $70 worth of swag to each of over a dozen qualifying applicants. Unfortunately we could only give out four Scholarships - there were at least four more extremely deserving applicants.
2013 recipients are:
Mariah Williamson from West Valley, UT
Maycie Nielson of Pleasant Grove, UT
Danielle Cheek from Cedar City, UT
Whitney Curtis from Washington, UT
So, over the last two years we have done $7,000 in Scholarships. We will be going over the $10,000 mark this coming year. And hopefully even more in SWAG/gift certificates this year http://www.willytheplumberscholarship.net/events
By the best estimates, about 2.7 million children under the age of 18 have a parent in prison or jail. that means one in 28 kids in the United States (as of 2010) has a mother or father, or both, in lockup – a dramatic change from the one in 125 rate a quarter of a century ago. http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/27-million-children-under-age-18-have-parent-prison-or-jail
The Nation’s prisons held approximately 744,200 fathers and 65,600 mothers at midyear 2007; parents held in the Nation’s prisons--52 percent of State inmates and 63 percent of Federal inmates--reported having an estimated 1,706,600 minor children, accounting for 2.3 percent of the U.S. resident population under age 18; growth in the number of parents held in State and Federal prisons was outpaced by the growth in the Nation’s prison population between 1991 and midyear 2007. https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/abstractdb/AbstractDBDetails.aspx?id=244893
Here are some other links that may help
July 2013 Pay it Forward Channel 2 - http://www.kutv.com/news/features/pay-it-forward/stories/vid_91.shtml
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