A blog post, by Brian Matthews

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In a previous post, we posted WASHINGTON INMATE OF 18 YEARS DONATES MONEY TO PRISON LIBRARY, a story about Brian, the Washington State prisoner who made a selfless donation of $200 to his prison’s library.

Brian’s donation was receiving unexpected recognition in the media. Well, that recognition has caught others’ attention, and Brian’s humble deed is being copied.

According to Jeannie Remillard, the librarian at the prison where Brian is housed, the Washington State Library has received a bunch of emails, phone calls and visitors whom all want to make donations. They were inspired after they heard about Brian’s donation. For instance, a fellow from Texas caught wind of the incident and donated money. Other examples include Washington residents stepping up to the plate, from matching cash donations to pledging funds for the ILS Reads program. The ILS Reads program is a program where one book is bought in bulk and distributed to the inmates, who then read the book and have discussions on it before watching the movie based on the book.

A retired Barnes and Nobles sales rep whom used to deal with Mrs. Remillard heard about the donation and came into the prison library to visit and see the library in its daily operations. And it’s not just the private citizens who’re contributing: the local Aberdeen chapter of Rotary International have become involved in helping the prison’s library. One of the members has contacted Mrs. Remillard and advised that they would be making a donation of books, and also that they were going to discuss making a financial donation at their next meeting.

Admittedly, Brian’s in prison because he broke the law. But look at the ripple effect his actions have caused. Surely, when one does a deed such as Brian’s, with the intent only to help and without expectation of receiving anything in return, does that not give proof that people can make a difference, even in prison? Way to go, Brian! Thanks for showing the nation that, just because we’re locked up, it doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference.

I encourage everybody who reads this story to pass it on, and to make sure that others know about it also. A prisoner donating money to support a program of his captors: who does that?

Brian does.

Brian Matthews (BM84)