OROFINO, Idaho – We want to share a story with you about our Treats 2 Troops program that really touched all of us that work here.
For years, many of you from across the Inland Northwest have donated care packages to be sent overseas to the men and women serving in the Armed Forces.
One of those packages we are going to send comes from somewhere you might expect – a prison.
An inmate at the prison in Orofino, Idaho, said he was inspired to donate to Treats 2 Troops after hearing a story about the family of a local fallen soldier. So that inmate got with other prisoners to make their own care packages at the prison.
Terese Orvis is the mother of one of those inmates, Richard Hanes. She read us a letter that Hanes penned from the prison.
“In 2010, after watching so many fallen soldier’s names and faces on the news, you almost become numb to the numbers,” Orvis read from Hanes letter.
The key word there is ‘almost.’
Hanes wrote the he was touched by the story of Josh Dumaw, a Spokane Valley Marine who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Dumaw's mother had said the best way to honor her son would be to send care packages to the men and women defending our freedoms.
So, with the blessing of both Dumaw’s mom and the warden at the Orofino prison, Hanes started what he calls “Operation Gift Pack.”
“The program is designed for inmates to give from the little they have,” Orvis said.
Using money on his inmate account, Hanes started to buy non-perishable foods from the prison commissary, like top ramen, to put in a care package.
Working on a unique Treats 2 Troops story for 5pm. We received these care packages this week. pic.twitter.com/1m143cJ2TX— Taylor Viydo (@KREMTaylor) November 30, 2016
This week, those packages arrived at KREM to be donated to Treats 2 Troops. Also in the boxes, warm caps crocheted by some of the inmates themselves.
“it made me feel honored,” Orvis said. “It made me feel proud of my son and the other inmates. And that the warden allowed this.”
Hanes is serving a life sentence on a murder charge from 2004. That is in the past. Hanes is now trying to look towards the future for he and his fellow inmates to give back.
Mother of one of the inmates explains that they purchased goods to donate from the prison commissary. pic.twitter.com/5dVADqkOx8— Taylor Viydo (@KREMTaylor) November 30, 2016