CARLISLE, Ind. (WTHI) – Around 30 Wabash Valley Correctional Inmates Thursday, chartered a new behind prison walls American Legion Post, with the help of American Legion State leadership. The newly formed Post originally planned to welcome 32 total inmates, but some inmates had transferred to other prisons. WVCF is Indiana’s sixth prison to charter an American Legion post. American Legion Post 398 is now chartered.
“All of these inmates are destined to get out some day, and at that point in time we hope to help them reintegrate into society in a more productive way,” said Mike Brady, American Legion Membership Chairman.
Brady spent time with inmates, at a table inside the prison’s visiting area, helping the newly registered Legion members fill out membership paperwork. The idea of the Legion post was brought to fruition by veteran inmates, and the American Legion representatives helped get the ball moving on the enacting the Post.
“To be eligible for the American Legion you had to have served during certain periods of time as set forth by congress and you have to have received an honorable discharge,” said Brady. The representative noted, that an inmates conviction, didn’t necessarily matter, as long as the military held the inmate in good standing at discharge.
Among the 30-some veterans that turned out for Thursday’s ceremony was inmate John Miksch. Miksch, originally a North Carolina native found himself in Carlisle following a methamphetamine arrest in Elkhart. Miksch told reporters when he was arrested, police found him with $87,000 and several grams of methamphetamine; it was also who first charge as a felon.
“I was with the U.S. Army, 8th ordinance company out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina” said Miksch.”I have a 40 year bit, with 20 executed for manufacturing methamphetamine.”
Miksch helped orchestrate the prison veterans and get the conversation started about forming the Post behind Wabash Valley’s prison walls. He admits, he and his band of prison buddies messed up.
“You know we are incarcerated, we have done some damage to the community or else we wouldn’t be here, so I think the big key is you know, mend some of those wounds and give back as much as we can,” said Miksch.
Tim Tanner, the Prison’s Chaplain, who also serves as a Military Chaplain, attended the event in support of the inmates accomplishing this goal.
“They are excited about what’s going on, excited about what can happen in this, they know that they have to maintain a certain standard, they have to stay out of trouble, and I believe that’s going to happen, a huge positive influence on these guys,” said Tanner.
The Charter Ceremony ended with Legion Vets handing out new member documents and a wrap of the gavel by the new Post commander.