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Iowa Juvenile Home benefactor benefited from his stay

December 23, 2013
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

To the people of Iowa

Thank you! Thank you! I am one of, my guess, 10,000 kids from all over Iowa that your tax dollars have help through the services of the Iowa State Juvenile Home, in Toledo. I came from a small town in SE Iowa, from a very poor home, with parents that were unable to raise me as a kid. In 1961, at age 14, I was at at a critical "tipping point". Gangs and likely prison, or a "fresh start" where I could get some "trusted supervision" with some rules, learn appropriate consequences, and see myself in a more constructive way that I could "re enter" the world in a more positive way than where i was certainly headed. I went on graduate from high school, had some college, served in the USMC in Vietnam, raised 4 wonderful daughters, attended my first cottage mother's funeral in 1985, at ISJH (she is buried there), built a Real Estate Development business, paid alot of State and Federal Income Taxes, helped fund a new library at ISJH and have managed to earn enough to fund individual Christmas presents, and celebrations for all kids at the home for the last 14 years, or so. I attribute much of the positive results that I have experienced from my life to the critical help, at a critical time that you provided, through the ISJH. Thank you.

Now that being said, I believe Iowa has benefited greatly by the 10,000 or so of us, that are out living constructive lives. Rather than me writing from a prison cell that Iowa has paid for, I am writing as a concern citizen who is both thankful for the past but saddened by the abrupt announcement to close ISJH "immediately". Before Christmas Day. The recent "task force" to review practices there and "make constructive recommendations for improvements" did not recommend "closing". The decision to close this important instruction is premature and short sited. Many good people, both kids there and loyal employees are being treated harshly and unfair, in the name of "expedience" because certain politicians are forcing this to happen quickly, without appropriate debate. This is a rash and shortsighted decision that will cost the people of Iowa, way more, in the future. (Appropriate time to truly evaluate this important decision will allow the time to understand the true "cost benefit" to be be measured)

In any event, I am eternally thankful for your help in the past and I hope that you will not give up on the kids "in difficult situations" in the future. I believe it was a sound investment in the past and it will serve you well in the future.

Ron Ferrin

Past ISJH resident



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