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Inmates, Prosthetic Legs, and Stories of Redemption

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
February 25, 2020 12:38 pm

Inmates, Prosthetic Legs, and Stories of Redemption

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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February 25, 2020 12:38 pm

Rev. Brian Darnell, Director of Chaplaincy and Volunteer Services at Core Civic, called the show to share his passion for faith based programs for inmates.

Our radio program is the family caregiver outreach of Standing With Hope ...a ministry Gracie envisioned following the amputation of her legs. One of Core Civic's programs is our prosthetic limb outreach. Inmates in TN prison run by Core Civic volunteer to help us recycle parts from donated used prosthetic limbs. 

Gracie's desire was to provide quality prosthetic limbs her fellow amputees as a means of sharing the Gospel. We've been doing just that since 2005 in the West African country of Ghana.

If you desire to participate as a volunteer mentor in any of Core Civic's faith programs ...or wish to participate as an employer and hire inmates at your business  .. please contact us at

Standing With Hope:  For the Wounded and Those Who Care For Them

#caregiving #caregivers #prosthetics #amputees

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I've got of and they help us recycle the feet, the pylons, the knees, the screws, the liners, the sleeves, the belts, the socks. All these things can be recycled. The only thing that can't be is the socket because that is custom-fitted to that particular patient.

But everything else can be recycled. And these individuals do this and it's an extraordinary program and I never cease to be amazed at the lives that I encounter at the prison there that are doing this. One of them was a man who was in the program who was a caregiver for his wife who was an amputee and then as she got sicker and sicker and eventually died he started drinking a lot and his life kind of went off the rails and he ended up in prison and he found out about our program and he wanted to get involved.

And it was one of the most meaningful stories and I got to know this man and spent some time with him. Well, I asked Reverend Brian Darnell to come on to the show today. He is the Director of Chaplaincy and Volunteer Services for CoreCivic which manages, I don't know, how many prisons you guys do, Brian? Well, we have about 129 facilities. We have state partnerships and we also assist with U.S.

Marshals, ICE, Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice. We take care of about 60,000 folks in any given day. Well, and this is a huge responsibility and our program is one of the many, many, many faith-based programs that are involved in your system. First off, I thank you for being on the show and I wanted you to tell me why should faith-based programs be a part of the correctional world?

What purpose do they serve? I mean, I know this, but I'd like to hear it from your perspective because this is what you do every single day. Walk us through that as a listener. Why is this important? Well, Peter, and thank you for allowing me to be on your show.

This will be real personal for me because it is, in fact, personal. It's a validation of my faith. I grew up in church all my life, but I came across a passage in John 15 that said if you don't have fruit in your life, you're going to be cut away. And I realized I really didn't have any fruit. I'd been a so-called Christian all my life, grew up in the church, all that. And I really began to seek the Lord for what that fruit would be in my life, and it led me directly into the prison. So for me, why are faith-based programs important?

It's a self-validating question. Why does faith matter at all? So when I started, I was asked the question, where do you envision your ministry? It was sort of a field education process that I was going through, and I said please don't put me in a church where folks are lighting candles and they don't know why.

Send me out into the crowd. And a few weeks later, I was interviewing with a chaplain who was at a maximum security facility dealing with residents at that time who were acute and chronic mentally ill, hospice, health center full of inmates, sex offenders, transient inmates coming in for medical treatment, going out for medical treatment and all that. And I simply began the process of trying to find fruit in my life of faith.

And what I realized was the minute we incarcerate an individual, we take away everything from them, we limit their access to their family, we take away their clothes and their property, we dress them up in essentially a uniform, put shoes on them, and ask them if they'd like a Bible or a sacred text. So it's ironic that in the system that we begin our process, our whole intake process is about these are the things you can't have, these are the things you can have, would you like to tell us what your religious preference or your religious designation is. And so for me it was really a quest of why are faith-based programs important, why is faith important at all. I really believe that as I began to go into the facility that that was just really validated in my faith.

And the fact of the matter is one of the difficulties with the system is that we're very good at measuring outcomes, particularly in a punitive or a detention center environment, we're very good at measuring failed drug screens, outbursts, breaking property, assaulting staff, all those kinds of things. But as an individual begins to go through a spiritual transformation, we typically can't, we don't know how to measure it for one. I mean really how do you quantify the spirit.

But when people begin this transformation and you don't see a lot of outbursts or activities that kind of break the rules, we don't really look at that. And so for me as I began as a volunteer chaplain, later as a chaplain, as a director of religious services and now with CoreCivic, one of the things that I see is that I know for a fact that being a chaplain, and I've been at facilities with over a thousand inmates, and I was really immersed and active with the guys that I took care of, and that's really how I saw it. Because as chaplain, you're there to serve everybody. And for me, while I care what someone believes, I'm a Jesus-loving believer, and I believe that Christ died for me. I'm not ashamed of the gospel. But I'm called into this role to serve everyone, and I can serve anyone of a divergent faith.

I can serve them in the name of Jesus. And that's relatively easy for me, that's difficult for others, but I feel like that that's a validator of my faith, and just being able to go in and see that. And I've seen lives transform from the participation of faith-based programs where they seek after the Lord, and they seek to have that validated in their own lives.

It is so well said. We're going to talk a little bit more with Reverend Brian Darnell. He's Director of Chaplaincy and Volunteer Services with CORE Civic.

They manage so many correctional facilities, work with law enforcement all across the country. And our program, Standing With Hope, that Gracie started with, the Recycling Prosthetic Limbs, is housed in one of these facilities. It's an extraordinary thing. And we're also talking about forgiveness today. Our caregiver tip of the day is learning to forgive and walk through these things. We're going to talk some more about this. Call 877-655-6755 if you want to be a part of the show. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver.

We'll be right back. Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you? I'm Gracie Rosenberger, and in 1983, I experienced a horrific car accident, leading to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated. I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me.

But over time, my questions changed, and I discovered courage to trust God. That understanding, along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs, led me to establish Standing With Hope. For more than a dozen years, we've been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people. On a regular basis, we purchase and ship equipment and supplies.

And with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison, we also recycle parts from donated limbs. All of this is to point others to Christ, the source of my hope and strength. Please visit to learn more and participate in lifting others up. That's

I'm Gracie, and I am standing with hope. As a caregiver, think about all the legal documents you need. Power of attorney, a will, living wills, and so many more. Then, think about such things as disputes about medical bills. What if, instead of shelling out hefty fees for a few days of legal help, you paid a monthly membership and got a law firm for life? Well, we're taking legal representation and making some revisions, in the form of accessible, affordable, full-service coverage.

Finally, you can live life knowing you have a lawyer in your back pocket who, at the same time, isn't emptying it. It's called Legal Shield, and it's practical, affordable, and a must for the family caregiver. Visit That's Isn't it about time someone started advocating for you?, an independent associate. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver here on the Family Talk channel, Series XM 131. I am Peter Rosenberger, and we're glad you're with us.

If you want to be a part of the show, it's very easy to do so. The number is 877-655-6755, 877-655-6755, whatever's on your heart. That is my wife, Gracie, with Johnny Erickson-Tada singing through it all. Reverend Darnell is with us.

Brian Darnell is with us today. He is the Director of Chaplaincy and Volunteer Services at CORE Civic. I love having that song there because both of these women, Johnny Erickson-Tada and my wife, Gracie, both have faith-based programs housed at CORE Civic facilities. One of them is Johnny's program, Wheels for the World, and the other is our program, Stating with Hope, which is all part of what Gracie envisioned with prosthetic limbs. Johnny, who is a quadriplegic, refurbishes wheelchairs.

In the same facility, you've got incarcerated men who are refurbishing wheelchairs that are going around the world, and they're also recycling prosthetic limbs that we can use to help amputees over in West Africa. Reverend Darnell, I appreciate you being here as part of the show just talking about this. I love to see the stories of redemption, and as I go over there, because this is my story. This is my own life, and I've seen this for me to understand it. When I walk into that workshop over there in the Tennessee prison there at the Metro Place, and these guys ask me about Gracie, and they tell me they're praying for her. I mean, it's hard to even put words to that, you know? It is. It is. I was over there last week.

Yeah, go ahead. Well, no, no. Just tell me your experience as you walk down these halls and as you walk into these shops and as you see these programs at work.

What are your experiences on those? Well, the beautiful part of it, Peter, is this. If you really do spend time in the prison, and that's kind of the key, are we really willing to give back and to sow into the lives of so many men and women who often come to us emotionally, spiritually bankrupt, aside from some physical struggles and everything else?

But when I go in, I've been at the Metro facility, also at our South Central facility. We've put out 10,000-plus wheelchairs over the last few years for Wheels for the World. But when I'm standing there and I watch a guy refurbishing a prosthetic limb who's looking at me and who's saying, I wonder where this is going to go, Rev.

What do you think? I wonder who this is going to help. And there's a smile on the face, and there's a warmness of heart, and there's a gentleness of spirit. You know, that's what we're looking for in this transformative thing that we call rehabilitation, to take these folks who have come out of hard situations and have been hardened by it, to see them soften up and really want to become givers instead of takers.

It's a fantastic thing to see. I've watched in my own philosophy and journey and outlook when I was younger and stupid, as opposed to older and stupid. But when I was younger and more naïve, I was thinking, well, if they're doing something bad, lock them up. Be done with them. Put them away. My attitude has changed dramatically to lift them up instead of just lock them up.

Lift them up. And be a part of that program of reaching into them. Because as we enter into this season of Lent that's coming up in the Christian calendar, we think about the extraordinary lengths that God went to to reach into our misery, our incarceration, our hopelessness, our bankrupt state. You know, how can we withhold this from others?

That doesn't even make sense to me anymore. So it's like you said, it's just a part of our, it's an extension of who we are now in our faith. And so I just want to, can people get involved? And if so, how do they get involved? What are some of the things that you would see, like if somebody's listening today and they say, you know what, I'd like to be a part of this.

What are some things that they can do? They may not be in the Tennessee area. They may be in another area of the country. But what are some things that you would recommend to people to do to get involved?

Well, I would route them back to you, Peter, have them get in touch with you. There are plenty of opportunities for mentoring. We have plenty of folks who are going to be returning to society within two years. It would be great to have someone come in and mentor them as they begin their transition out of facilities and back into the community. You know, over 90 percent of folks who are incarcerated are going to be walking the streets at some point. And I think it's a burden on our own societies and our own communities to go in and serve those who are going to be coming back to our own societies and communities, no matter where we live. Because those who are incarcerated, it really crosses all demographic lines, the generalizations about who ends up in prison.

You know, I've been lucky enough to hang out with guys who have been entrepreneurs and cardiologists and lawyers and law enforcement folks, plenty of people who, in their own right, have been successful and found themselves incarcerated. Mentoring is a great way to go. Some facilities have a pen pal group. There are a lot of ways to get involved. If they can get in touch with you and you want to redirect, I will. I'm going to go to my site,

Just send me a contact information and we'll make sure we put it in the right hands. If there's something you're feeling in your heart you want to do, maybe you're a teacher, I guess you could do all kinds of teaching programs with helping folks tutor with GED stuff that they're doing and things like that. I would assume that's going on. There are plenty of programs and it's all about that mentoring space, Peter. As we talked the other day, for me, I'm big on incarnational theology. You know, the Lord, before he carried his props, he walked among the blind and the lame and the demoniacs and those who were poor and impoverished and broken in spirit. That's what we do every day. That's a great privilege for me. I feel that I've won the lottery in the work that I do. But for me, I just show up to acknowledge somebody's humanity and their dignity and share the gospel of hope with them. I think by trying to bring restoration to them through standing with hope or wheels for the world or just being there to mentor, it's acknowledging to someone that the Lord is present with them.

Well, that is beautifully said. Reverend Brian Darnell, Director of Chaplaincy and Volunteer Services. I put this stuff on my website and on the podcast. The podcast is free, by the way. We'll have this interview up there. Also, if you're an employer, take a chance on some of these inmates that are getting out that have learned some skills. Talk with CoreCivic about it. They'll work with you. They really want to help these individuals get back into society and be a part of society. Would you do that?

Would you think about that, about giving someone a job, too? Reverend Darnell, thank you so much for the call, and I'm going to have you back on, okay? Very good, Peter. Thank you very much. Yes, sir. Don't go away. We'll be right back. Hope for the caregiver. This is Peter Rozenberger. Don't go away.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-23 07:53:47 / 2024-01-23 08:00:54 / 7

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