Dear Ms. Whoberry, Ever since you came to LOCI (London Correctional Institute) to share your story with us, I have been wanting to write to tell you how much I appreciated you sharing your story with us. I needed to hear your testimony. You showed me it was OK to forgive. Because of the hate, pain and shame that I felt towards myself, the hatred was so strong I could not look in the mirror because I could not look at the person that was looking back at me. Because of the choice I made to do drugs my mom lost her life. I took my moms life. I was so high on crack cocaine I do not even remember doing it. The woman who gave me life and I miss her every day. So as you can see, I was not open to forgiving myself. My family forgave me years ago. They never stopped loving me. Over the years, my family has asked me to let go of the pain and forgive myself. I have always been willing to try to forgive myself, but I could not fully commit. By forgiving myself, I felt like I was hurting my mom and my family all over again. I just could not do that to them again. After hearing your testimony, something happened. I knew it was time for me to embrace forgiveness. That’s what happened that day in the gym. I asked for forgiveness. Ms. Whoberry, I am not sure I would have been able to take that step towards forgiveness, had I not heard your story. One more thing, I almost did not show up to hear your story. It was meant to be. Thank you for helping me to be able to let all that hurt, pain and shame go. Thank you, Jeffrey 5.19.16
Lorraine, I wanted to write this letter just to say, how important it was to have ever come into contact with you, meet you, and hear your story. Let me explain, my wife, Holly, attended a victim’s gathering where you spoke downtown in Cincinnati. Here also was my victim’s mother. At this speech she told me of your story, the horrific things you and your daughters experienced, and the impact it had on her about forgiveness. She sent me a copy of it through the mail, and when I received it, it brought me to tears in my cell. Why? Because forgiveness was something I knew little about, much less knowing how to forgive myself. You see at the time, I was doing public speaking to first offenders at CRC and other inmates, and I was trying to tell them the importance of accountability, and about God, and the path to stay on when getting to prison. I told them of my struggles and the troubles I had gone through when I first came to prison, the type of person I used to be, and I encouraged them not to travel the path that I had traveled. However, I became burdened after my first few speeches, because I realized I had not been completely honest in my talks. I realized I was encouraging these inmates to be accountable for their crimes, when I myself had not been fully accountable for my own actions. I felt shame, I felt guilt, and I saw that I was basically manipulating my situation to make myself appear better than I really was by telling half truths.. When I read your story, I not only broke down in tears, but I saw you as a reflection of what I hoped to have someday from my victims mother. Your story gave me hope, and it enabled me to see that forgiveness was possible. See, I saw myself and the crime I committed as the lowest thing a person could do to their friend. I hated myself . But I saw that if a mother like you, who had experienced what you did, not only survived , but found it in her heart to FORGIVE a murderer and the heinous act that was committed against her and her daughters… if she could forgive a man after committing an act like that? Then I owe it to myself and everyone else to not only forgive , but I owe it to you, and victims like you to stop feeling sorry for myself, get up, and start living this life as the person God intended me to be. So I found the courage from this point to write my victim’s mother a full confession letter to what I had done. And although it didn’t make me look much better in anyone else’s eyes, it allowed me to confess my sins and be accountable for the life I took. What felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders all those years, was like a feather when I gave it to God, and asked His forgiveness. I wanted my victims mother to know her son did nothing wrong to me that night and that he was a good person. He didn’t deserve what I did out of my own prideful insecurities. From this moment on, I began speaking the truth to all the first time offenders I spoke to. I began dealing in truth period. I began to walk close to God by following Godly principles, and He took me from the dark place I was back then, He took me from the dark individual I used to be, who was still at a level three security, to a level one security and a mentor here at Marion Correctional. You’re a bright light Lorraine, in a very dark place for inmates like me. And if I’m honest, you helped me move forward in my life and your story helped me uncover layers and layers of self hatred, low self worth, and low self esteem. You helped me conquer my internal battle of self image, guilt, and shame…and what I found at my core after I lifted each blanket off of me through forgiveness, was my original bright light I always was, its all anyone has ever been. I thank you again for showing and expressing God’s love and forgiveness to me. Thank you, always, Dale.
Hello Mrs. Lorraine, Thanks for putting a smile on my face by wishing me a Happy Birthday. I feel blessed and honored to have met you, and will add your family to my prayers. I am writing because I was touched by how eloquently you told the story of your tragedy, triumphs and personal struggles of your daughters. I believe God lead me to the gym that day so I could hear your story and to always remember the pain the family feels after being victimized by senseless crimes in our society. I want you to know I was encouraged by the things you spoke about, in particularly us being able to forgive ourselves. Ms. Lorraine I applaud the work you are able to do. Please continue traveling around the country and sharing your story with those of us who have caused the senseless crimes to families like yours, whose families hearts are full of pain. Know that upon me being arrested in 1993 for federal drug charges and a year later for murder charges, I began to ask God to change the person I had become. I prayed and worked hard to change my way of thinking and asked God to take me under His wings. I have surrendered myself to God, like you said and have repented for all my wrong doings I have done to those who was victimized by my behavior and crimes. Upon my incarceration I immediately begin to educate myself. I received my GED in 1995 and have recently enrolled with the University of Urbanna and have made the dean’s list. Something I never knew was possible until I applied myself. Mrs. Lorraine, keep telling your story to those who are in prison, because we need to hear how tragedy has impacted the families of our victims. I asked God to forgive me of my crimes and I have forgiven myself for becoming someone other than what God intended me to become. I will continue to educate myself and pray for people like you to enter into my life, because your story has changed my life forever. Thank you Mrs. Lorraine D’Juan 5.8.16
This is a letter of support for Lorraine Whoberry and the S.T.A.C.I.E. Foundation. I have had the pleasure of knowing Ms. Whoberry over the last five years while working with her and the International Association of Chiefs of Police on the Enhancing Police Response to Victims Program (EPRV). The EPRV Program was developed based on the experiences Ms. Whoberry shared and the insights she provided to help law enforcement better serve victims of crime, to be conscious of their actions while investigating a crime and not unintentionally “re-victimize” the individuals they are attempting to help, and also to provide much needed support in their time of need. Her assistance was invaluable in the preparation and presentation of this program to law enforcement agencies worldwide and will hopefully change the face of law enforcement from this point on. Raymond J. Rose Chief of Police Mundelein, Illinois
I would like to briefly share what a blessing Lorraine Whoberry has been in my life. We became friends through the American Baptist Leadership Academy of Ohio three years ago. Over these years Lorraine has shared her journey with Jesus Christ with me, personally, and with my church. The congregation was deeply moved as they listened to the transformation she experienced through the power of forgiveness. I am grateful to know Lorraine Whoberry and her family; God has done an amazing work in their lives. I pray the Lord opens many doors in the future for them to share their testimony of perseverance, forgiveness and hope. Rev. Pamela A. Wantz Linden Avenue Baptist Church
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