Path Home Shows 2011 Show Archive February 2011 Show 1107 Prison Redemption

Prison Redemption

If there's a path that leads to prison, drugs would most certainly be on it. We meet a man who is serving a sentence that has put him on the long road in search of redemption.

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Show Dates

Show 1107: Prison Redemption

Air date: February 13, 2011

 

Transcript

Rob:  Well if there is a path that leads to prison, drugs are certainly on it.  We went behind bars at Lexington State Prison to meet a man who is not there on drug charges, yet his crimes are drug related.  Keith Smith has the story.

Vincent Ross:  I usually get up; I wake up, about, anywhere between 4:30 and 5:00.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it.  Not one day, not one hour, not even hardly a minute goes by, that I don’t think about what I did.  I’ll come up for parole the first time in 2034.

Keith:  The time for the crime may not be on a drug charge, but it’s a start to understanding the beginning.

Vincent:  My drug of choice was cocaine, crack cocaine, specifically.  You know, go out and get high for a couple of days, then be straight for a couple of months.  It continues to get worse.  It snowballs, and the longer it goes the bigger it gets.  I had many opportunities for help, but I didn’t have the fortitude, within myself, to accept the help that was available.  There comes a point where in my inner self, where I kind of feel like I gave up, on the struggle.  I gave up on the struggle and just let the addiction have its way.  I never would have dreamed that I would ever be capable of robbing anybody.  But then that addiction was so powerful that all the other means were gone, and the thought entered my mind, well I’m out of money, I can just take somebody else’s.

Vincent:  I portrayed like I had a weapon.  The very first robbery I committed was at a Subway sandwich shop, and I remember getting to the point of actually going up to the counter and trying to develop the courage, which it wasn’t courage, it was just stupidity, to actually follow through with the intended robbery.  And I remember thinking to myself at that time; okay, I can just turn around and walk away.  But I didn’t do it.  I actually followed through.  I would say ninety-five percent of the people that are incarcerated are here because of drugs, and the system doesn’t do enough.

Vincent:  The power of addiction, that’s real prison, that’s bondage.  This isn’t bondage, this is confinement.

Rob:  Well Vincent is part of the Skills Center in Lexington Prison; a program run by Oklahoma CareerTech that helps offenders prepare for life outside the prison gate.  Now next week we are going to take you behind prison walls around the state to see how such training is both changing lives and saving taxpayer dollars.

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Rob:  Well when it comes to a world-changing event, probably few, if any, Oklahomans have experienced what the gentleman in our next story did.  Walter Scheffe was the friendly pharmacist that filled prescriptions for Enid residents for more than a generation.  Yet early on in his life, he was witness to an event that changed the course of history.

What’s going on?

Oh not much.

Rob:  At 89 years of age, Walter Scheffe is the only pharmacist even his oldest customers have ever known.  For over 60 years, filling prescriptions for friends and neighbors unaware that the hands carefully counting their pills were once at the controls of the Yokohama Yoyo high above Japan.

Walter Scheffe:  You know why we named it Yoyo?  Well, a yoyo always comes back.

Rob:  As the pilot of a photo reconnaissance plane, it was Scheffe’s job to fly into harm’s way and photograph enemy positions.  Altogether Scheffe’s Yokohama Yoyo flew 23 combat missions over Japan, but none more important than the last.

Walter:  Just to tell the story of Hiroshima, it’s a sad story, and a happy story; happy story because it ended the war, and a sad story because that was the first time in the history of warfare that another nation used a nuclear weapon.

Rob:  And it was Scheffe’s job to chronicle the aftermath.

Walter:  Told us that we were going to photograph the dropping of a new type of bomb.  First of all, we could see a blip on the horizon, at about 75 miles out; as we got closer, the blip got higher.  When we arrived at Hiroshima, the cloud was above us, and we were told not to enter the cloud or the debris that was in the air, and we were to stay there one hour and photograph from outside.  People have asked me, well what did you think when you saw the bomb, the results of the bomb?  I really only thought of one thing; the war is over, and I’m going to get to go home.

Rob:  Well Mr. Scheffe passed away last month and was remembered by both family and friends for his war service, and a life-long commitment to the Enid community.

Rob:  Next time on Oklahoma HORIZON, we take you behind prison walls, to look at a program that changes lives, and saves taxpayer dollars.