This year, together with our partner Soldier On, we kicked off an initiative with the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) to work with incarcerated veterans.
MDOC has set aside a building at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF) for us to have full time access to a group of veteran offenders. It has truly been an honor for us to work with MDOC, Soldier On, the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation, as well as a host of other community partners.
One of our staff persons, Barbara Parker Thornton, has been at the head of organizing our involvement at the correctional facility. Barbara is the wife of a disabled veteran who served for fifteen years in the Air Force, and so she brings a special passion to her work. She has created a team of over forty community partners. One of Barbara’s special projects is a garden at CMCF. With special assistance from Beneta Burt from the Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity and Cathy Turner, Mississippi Farmers Network, we will sponsor a raised bed garden to be built and cared for by the incarcerated veterans.
“It is so exciting to see how these guys light up when they get their hands in the soil and begin to grow something” Barbara says. “They are creating something positive and it is life changing.”