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Inmates embrace the spirit of Christmas

POSTED: December 21, 2012 7:00 a.m.
Linda Mowery-Denning/

Pearcy Justin, right, displays the check he later presented to Ellsworth’s Mosaic, which provides services for the developmentally disabled. With him are, from left, Anthony Roediger and Lindsey Kepka and Julie Kramp, both of Mosaic. The presentation took place at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility’s East Unit, the former St. Francis Boys’ Home.

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The breakroom box at Ellsworth’s Maico Industries got Pearcy Justin thinking. So he took his idea to his “go to guy” Anthony Roediger.
The result of their efforts was on display Friday night, in the form of a more than $445 check, money donated to Mosaic by 18 inmates who are among the 95 housed at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility’s East Unit, the former St. Francis Boys’ Home.
“Mosaic is international, but we’re one of the smaller units so this means a lot,” said local director Julie Kramp of the organization that provides services for the developmentally disabled.
The check was accompanied by a card signed by the inmates.
“We’ll keep this forever,” added Mosaic’s Lindsey Kepka.
Inmate Justin, 30, started working for Maico in June. Following a regular Monday morning safety meeting, Maico plant manager Dave Cox talked to his employees about a box that had been set up in the breakroom for toothbrushes, soap and other basic care items for Mosaic clients.
Justin thought to himself, “Why couldn’t the inmates do something?” Roediger, another inmate who works at Maico, encouraged him to move ahead with his plan.
That night, back at the East Unit from his day job, Justin wrote his proposal, which needed approval from unit leaders.
 “I thought it would be a good thing to do,” Justin said. “This is the first time I’ve ever been able to give a helping hand.”
Justin said he was not familiar with Mosaic; however, Roediger’s son had worked for the organization and he liked the idea of the donations remaining in Ellsworth.
“There are so many worthwhile causes, but times are tough and this is a local non-profit,” Roediger said.
Julie Kramp said the East Unit donation will be applied to Mosaic’s wish list. Included are a new wheelchair lift and swing and a dishwasher.
Justin challenged others to extend a helping hand to Mosaic.
“You don’t get to prison by being a nice guy,” Roediger said. “We’re blessed to be in this community.
“It’s a good feeling to give to people who aren’t necessarily asking for help, but need it ... especially at this time of year.”

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