Tag Archives: Brian Peixoto

Reinstated! Feb. 2017

Hello everybody,

It was a year ago that the Department of Correction administrators, here at MCI-Concord, decided that they were going to threaten, intimidate, and then punish me for going against their wishes and speaking with a reporter from Boston Magazine. They tried to misuse their power to prevent me from standing up for my rights. Ultimately, the prison’s administration took away privileges that I had earned and then removed me from the facility’s NEADS Service Dog Training Program, in a malicious attempt to hurt me. I was devastated and heartbroken. Once again, I was being punished and had done nothing wrong.

Gianna welcomes Brian back to the NEADS Program with a kiss!
Feb. 2017

Since then, with the help of a dynamic civil rights lawyer, Sonja Deyoe, we filed a civil rights law suit in District Court outlining the abuses of power and discretion by prison authorities. We filed this lawsuit in an attempt to stand up for what was right and to prevent those in power from mistreating people who are weaker than them, simply because they can. The complaint that was filed with the court detailed allegations that the prison authorities threatened and intimidated me to prevent me from speaking with the reporter; and then, after I did, the authorities punished me by removing me from the NEADS Program after two years of successfully training service dogs for disabled children.

However, today I am very happy and proud to announce, thanks to Sonja’s help, I have been reinstated back into the NEADS Program. That’s right; I am now back training service dogs for disabled people.

Brian as he should be, with a dog by his side. This is Gianna!
Feb. 2017

I really want to thank Sonja for her help. Without her, I don’t think any of this would have been possible. Her dedication to helping those who are in need and her commitment to defending what is right, is the reason I am training service dogs once again. Although I have not yet been given my own dog to train, I am very happy merely to have the opportunity to be back in this amazing program. On behalf of me and my family, thank you, Sonja.

Brian

 

Update: Civil Rights Lawsuit

Hi to everybody,

I wanted to give everyone a quick update on recent events regarding the civil rights lawsuit I filed against the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC).

As I’m sure you remember, last February (2016), prison officials here at MCI-Concord threatened me and then retaliated against me because I cooperated with the reporter from Boston Magazine, who was writing an article about my wrongful conviction. Prison officials were angry at me and decided they would punish me by removing me from the NEADS Service Dog Program. Over the course of the two years that I had been in the program, I had trained three dogs that were placed with disabled children. Well, after my punitive removal I filed a federal lawsuit against the DOC in U.S. District Court (Peixoto v. Lois Russo, et. al.)

Attorney Sonja Deyoe stepped forward and offered to represent me in the suit, pro bon. The DOC lawyer then filed a motion with the court to have my lawsuit dismissed. He argued that I do not have a Constitutional right to communicate with the media and that DOC officials did not threaten or retaliate against me for doing so and that I did not have a protected right in being in the program to begin with so I had no rights to protect in the suit. Subsequently, the court held a hearing where Sonja aggressively argued against the DOC lawyer on my behalf.

Amazingly, I am happy to announce that Sonja was successful. The court ruled in our favor and denied the DOC’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In the court’s decision the judge agreed with us and stated that a jury could find that “prison officials took adverse action” against me and had “the intent to retaliate,” when they removed me from the NEADS Program. Further, the judge stated that a jury could find that these prison officials acted with “intent” to threaten and intimidate me in order to discourage my communication with the media.

This is wonderful news. Sonja did an amazing job in fighting for me and my civil rights. This is an incredible David v. Goliath win. With Sonja’s help, we were able to stop omnipotent prison officials from abusing their power and from threatening and intimidating those weaker and in their care. We are hopeful that very soon the DOC will be forced to do the right thing and put me back in the NEADS Service Dog Program and to stop any further abuse against me simply for proclaiming my innocence and fighting to be freed from my wrongful imprisonment.

Thank you, Sonja.

February 2017

Hello to everyone. I hope you are well.

This morning when I woke, it was just another day in prison. I put on the news and plugged in my hot pot to heat water for coffee. A national news station was profiling two men who were wrongfully convicted and spent a combined 40 years in prison fighting to prove their innocence. Finally, after decades behind bars, they were freed and returned to their families.

Over the years I’ve seen many of these stories. I’ve seen them featured on Dateline and 20/20. Sometimes they were convicted because of corrupt police. Sometimes it was misidentification by witnesses. And of course, many were because of faulty science. In fact, nationwide there have been thousands of men and women exonerated after spending decades in prisons for crimes they did not commit.

As a wrongfully convicted man fighting to prove his innocence, I don’t know how to feel about this. I guess on one hand it should make me feel hopeful and grateful that so many people were freed after so long. It should make me feel optimistic and appreciative that these people were finally vindicated. But quite honestly, today, what I feel is anger.

It makes me angry that our criminal justice system failed these people. It makes me angry that our criminal justice system failed me. A system that allows so many people to be convicted on crimes they did not commit, and then forces them to fight against the very system to right the wrong is broken. Our criminal justice system is supposed to be based on protecting the innocent. How then do so many people get convicted of crimes they are innocent of? And then, our appeals system is designed to ensure that innocent people are not wrongly convicted. Why then does it take decades (if they are one of the lucky ones) for an innocent person to be exonerated? What makes me most angry is when after one of these people is finally freed, people say, “See, the system works.” Wrong! If the system worked, innocent people would not be yanked from their families and forced to spend a single day behind bars for a crime they did not commit. Our system is broken and it makes me angry.

Brian and baby Amber
Fearing Pond, Plymouth 1991

Some days more than others I feel the anger. As the investigation into my own conviction continues, we’re learning of just how badly the system failed me and my family. In fact, it was more than just a system that failed; it was the police detectives, prosecutors, attorneys, medical experts, and judges that failed us. Some of the failures were worse than others. Some of the failures were malicious and intentional. Others were mere incompetence. It makes me angry to think of all that has been taken from me; all that has been taken from my daughter. My family has lost so much, and it makes me angry.

Our criminal justice system needs to be fixed. Our legislators need to change laws. Conviction Integrity Units need to be created. Federal funding needs to be given to Innocence Programs. Prosecutors need to be held criminally liable for wrongdoing. The AEDPA needs to be repealed. Time limits and other hurdles for appeals need to be dismantled. And, the death penalty needs to be abolished. We need to demand real criminal justice reform in order to prevent these injustices.

These days while so many people are angry and protesting about election results, Executive Orders, and Cabinet nominees, my hope is that there is some anger left for our criminal justice system. A system that is destroying American families and citizens, right now, in prison for crimes they did not commit; children growing up with the pain and loss of a wrongly incarcerated parent; mothers, fathers, children and siblings suffering because they have a loved one in prison as an innocent person. Lives are being destroyed and time is lost forever-all as a result of a failed criminal justice system. It makes me angry.

I want to end by stating that not all anger is bad. Sometimes anger is good. When it is channeled into action, it can be righteous. When it is used as motivation, it can be powerful. When it is used to right a wrong, it can open prison doors.

One Day Closer…

 

 

January 2017

Greetings to everyone,

Thank you for all of your kind words of encouragement. Your love and support is heartwarming.

Truth is; this time of year is always difficult. It is the anniversary of young Christopher’s death. I often think about the affect his passing has had on so many lives.

I feel the need to extend my deepest sympathies to Christopher’s family – especially to his father and sister. I can’t imagine the terrible pain losing Christopher must have caused them. My family and I have always empathized with Christopher’s family and those who love and miss him. Even as we fight to uncover the truth about what happened to him and to prove my innocence, we continuously remind ourselves of the senseless loss of a young boy’s life. For this loss, we are truly sorry.

This is also the anniversary of my family’s loss. It was 21 years ago that I was arrested and wrongly accused of murdering Christopher. I’ve been incarcerated ever since. Christopher’s death and my conviction have been a terrible tragedy – a tragedy that has had devastating consequences for so many people. I ask that this time of the year everyone please keep in their thoughts and prayers both Christopher’s family and mine. These two families have suffered incredible loss and pain. Please pray that we all are able to find comfort and peace.

Brian

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year to everyone!

I hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving and Christmas. I truly wish everyone has a joyous New Year packed with happiness. I have the feeling this will be a wonderful year filled with miracles.

I want to thank everyone who sent me support letters and Christmas cards. Every time the guards stopped to slide mail under my cell door, I smiled. I knew the swooshing sound of mail sliding across my cell floor was the sound of love, support and well wishes. Thank you.

This has been a long and difficult year. Although there have been some absolutely ground-breaking advancements in my case, there has also been some difficult trials and tribulations. I’ve had to dig deep into my heart and force myself to remember and be thankful for all the positives; my family and loved ones are healthy and well. I have an amazing support system that lifts me up and loves and believes in me. I have a wonderful family who fills my heart with love. I have a beautiful woman who has given me her whole heart. And I have the best lawyer in the world who fights and believes in me. I am truly a blessed man. Sometimes in life it is when you are at your lowest that you come to realize how much love you have. I have more than most and I am grateful.

I’m often asked about where we are with the legal work and when we will file with the court and ask that my conviction be overturned. Let me just say, Jennifer Fitzgerald, my powerhouse attorney, has been working around the clock, literally. Every time we think we are ready to file, Jen uncovers some new and incredible piece of lost or hidden evidence that no one else who have been able to unearth. She has been working tirelessly reviewing records, consulting with medical experts, and preparing to expose the truth. Every time Jen discusses what she has uncovered with Lisa, Lisa tells me, “Jen is freaking brilliant!” No one could have done what Jen has done. We know in our hearts that Jennifer will be the one to definitively and scientifically prove my innocence. We have no doubts that Jen will bring me home.

Also, a lot of people have asked: Whatever happened with me and the NEADS dog program? In case you forgot, in February of last year, just two weeks after the release of the Boston Magazine article, the prison’s administration had me removed from the NEADS program. I was shocked and devastated at the spiteful decision of the DOC to suddenly and without reason remove me from the program. I knew I had done nothing wrong and was being unfairly punished. I became very depressed and was having a difficult time. You see, I realized long ago that while you are in prison you have to find a purpose; a reason to get up in the morning. It’s the only way to survive in this dark and dismal place. It’s about self-preservation while being incarcerated. Some guys find positive outlets, like church, school or going working out. Most guys find negative outlets. Very popular at MCI Concord is getting high, gambling, fighting, and joining gangs. I chose to train service dogs for disabled children and war veterans. Training dogs gave my dark days in prison purpose. It brought me a tremendous amount of pride and satisfaction knowing that my time behind the wall and barbed wire had meaning. However, when I was removed from the NEADS program, I felt helpless. Once again, just like the day I was arrested, I felt powerless to fight against an omnipotent and unjust system. I felt that fighting the mighty Department of Correction was futile and would only bring more threats and retaliation from prison officials. But, after much encouragement, Jen, Lisa, and my family convinced me that I needed to stand up for myself and for what was right. I was “encouraged,” against my initial trepidation, to file a civil liberties complaint in federal court.

Attorney Sonja Deyoe, “The Straight Shooter”

So I did. After I filed, it was posted to the website and Facebook pages. It caught the attention of Sonja Deyoe, a well-respected and talented civil rights lawyer out of RI known as “The Straight Shooter.” She offered assistance if needed. When the court allowed me to proceed in forma pauperis, we reached out to Sonja and she immediately responded with an offer to represent me in this battle with the DOC; and, most amazingly, she offered to waive all her fees. I was in shock. Her kindness and altruistic offer blew me away. Sonja promptly came to the prison to meet with me and in a confident tone told me, “I stand up for what’s right. It’s what I do.” She immediately notified the court and the DOC lawyer that she would be representing me in this civil action again the prison officials that violated my rights. Stay tuned to see what happens next…

In closing, once again, I hope for a happy new year for all. I feel in my heart that this will be the year of truth and what is right. It will be our year. But for now we will take it one day at a time. After all, every day brings us One Day Closer.

Brian

 

 

November 2016

This past Sunday was the anniversary Mass for my cousin John and my grandparents.

16 years ago today, my cousin John was suddenly taken from us. And ten years ago, this very same day, my grandmother and grandfather both passed, just hours apart.

Aunt Alda, Aunt Hilda and Amber at Aunt Hilda's house following the anniversary Mass for Vovo, Vuvu, Uncle Manny and Cousin John; November 2016

Aunt Alda, Aunt Hilda and Amber at Aunt Hilda’s house following the anniversary Mass for Vovo, Vuvu, Uncle Manny and Cousin John; November 2016

Every year around this time my family gathers in memorial to our loved ones. You might think that such a family gathering would be somber and maybe even sad, but not with my family. Rather it has become a celebration. There is food, family and plenty of laughter. And most of all there is love. My grandmother would love it.

I was not able to be with my family when my loved ones passed. Nor was I able to be with them on Sunday. But in my place standing by father were my daughter, Amber and my love, Lisa. As they told me about the gathering I smiled because through them I was there. My smile lasted long into the night. For that I am grateful.

I remember when Lisa first asked me about my family. I shared with her an article written just after my grandparents passed. After reading it, Lisa smiled and said, “That explains everything.”

I want to share that article here in their memory; In memory of my cousin John who I love and miss; In memory of my grandparents, who always made me feel loved.

This is my family.

 

Dancer’s graduation

Hello to everyone,

I know when it has been a while since last I posted when Lisa starts reminding me it’s time to get writing. The truth is it’s difficult for me to write a post. I often feel like I am writing the same things over and over again. I also don’t want to come across as depressing or complaining. In reality, my days are very mundane and often filled with quiet sadness. There are, however, small glimmers of light in my dark days. Getting to call Lisa is a highlight of my day. Also, getting visits from my family and friends. And probably the biggest highlight has always been working with the dogs.

I don’t mean to sound depressing or ungrateful for the wonderful things happening in my case. All of the advances in my case are remarkable. And all of the positive attention is incredible. It’s just that I’m tired. Twenty years is a long time. Twenty years is a VERY long time. It can be hard to stay positive. I have to constantly remind myself of the wonderful family and friends I have that love and support me. Or the amazing legal team I have working diligently to bring me home. And all of the incredible support we received after the article came out in Boston Magazine. I have so much more than so many others. I have hope. I hope for a future. I am grateful. I really am. It can just be very hard to fight off the negative influences and the darkness that fills my every day of being in prison for a crime I did not commit. It’s hard.

Brian and Dancer during the dog days of summer 2015

Brian and Dancer during the dog days of summer 2015

I am also struggling right now with the loss of my dog. Yes, Dancer has finally graduated. It is bitter sweet. I’ve known all along that the goal was to train her for a disabled person and that she would ultimately leave to change someone’s life. Well, on February 10th it happened. After raising and training her for 15 months, Dancer left to go to her forever home. Dancer was matched with a 15 year-old autistic girl. Dancer will work with the girl as a social dog to give her confidence in social situations. I am very proud of her. I was extremely fortunate to meet the mother of the disabled girl who received Dancer. At a meet-and-greet at the prison, the child’s mother came in to meet the man who trained the dog for her daughter. I was extremely honored. It was very emotional. She brought Dancer in with her and I got to see her. I have to admit; I lost control of my emotions and made a fool of myself. I took a picture with Dancer and the poor thing was freaked out at how emotional I was. Still, all and all it was an amazing experience and I was grateful for the opportunity to meet Dancer’s new mommy and to see her again. I know that Dancer will bring happiness and joy to that family’s lives and that I had a small part to play in it. I am honored, but I will miss her.

Dancer's graduation to the red vest-full service dog status March 1, 2016

Dancer’s graduation to the red vest-full service dog status:  March 1, 2016

As always I want to thank everyone for their love and support. Lisa reads your comments to me every day. Thank you for your kind encouragement and kind words. I smile as I hear them and I love and appreciate every word.

We continue to struggle in our fight. We sometimes stumble and merely survive one more day. But one thing is for sure, every day brings us one day closer…

Brian

November 2015

Hello,

My hope is that everyone is well.

Although I recently sent Lisa some thoughts to post, I felt compelled to write again.

I have been asked why it had been so long between my June and October posts. If you go back and read my June post, you will see that I wrote about the many special people in my life that have their birthdays in June. Unfortunately, over the many years, birthdays, anniversaries, and other happy events often have an opposite effect on me. Sorry for the hiatus.

Also, now, summer can be a difficult time for me in general. I can remember, when I was home summer was my favorite time of the year. Ask anyone who knew me, I was most comfortable in shorts and bare feet, and I was always ready to head to the beach. I was a sun worshiper. Also, summer was when my birthday was, and when Amber was born. Summer was my symbol of life and happiness.

Once I got locked behind these walls, summer was merely a reminder of what I used to have; what was lost; what had been taken away. Over my many years in prison, I came to despise summer and what it reminds me of.

What made me want to write today is that I want to share what has been going on in my heart and mind now…

During the different times of the calendar year I have a vast array of memories and emotions. Some good; some bad. While I have been in prison; however, there has always been something psychological about the changing of the seasons that affects me in a profound way. Lisa and I have spoken at length about it. She feels it too. It may be the symbolic thought of change-the death of one season, and the birth of a new one. Or, it may merely be that the changing of the seasons marks the passage of time-time away from my family; time I’ve grown older in prison. I think it’s about the loss. In retrospect, perhaps it’s that I feel that my feelings of loss are magnified during the changing of the seasons.

Vovó and Brian

Vovó and Brian

Fall and November, in particular, is a symbol of loss for me because it was when I lost my cousin, John and my grandparents, vovó and vovô. I was already incarcerated and unable to be there when they passed. I could not be there to pay my respects, mourn with my family, or to physically or emotionally help. That is something I’ve always had difficulty and regret about.

Cousin John Peixoto

Cousin John Peixoto

My cousin John suddenly and tragically was taken from his young wife and two small girls. Everyone was devastated. John was loved by everyone who knew him. And years later my father especially took it hard when his parents passed within hours of each other. I was not able to be with them. It was difficult beyond words. I will always live with the pain and regret that I was unable to be there. I’m sorry.

Really, I guess at different times of the year I could find something negative to remind me of loss. I understand that it is all a matter of choosing to find the positive; to stay focused on faith, hope, and love. And I do. But I am human. I have many difficult times. More than I choose to admit. More than I choose to share with my family. There are days when I want to scream for the truth to finally come out. But, because I don’t want them to worry, I put on a brave face and tell them that I’m ok. But that’s not always true. The truth is it is difficult being away from them. It is difficult being in prison for something I did not do. It is hard when I’m alone and I miss Lisa and my family. It’s particularly hard when it comes to my daughter.

I guess my point is that I have good days and I have bad days. Sometimes I feel strong, like nothing can hurt me because I have the truth on my side. Then, there are times when heartbreak and despair creep in and get a foothold. That’s when I lean a little harder on Lisa and my family; they are always there to hold me up. For that I am thankful. They take care of me. They keep me strong. They remind me of what is waiting for me when I go home. I pull myself up and keep going. The alternative is to give up. With so many people who love and support me, that’s not an option. I’m reminded of a message I got one night when I was all alone: she said, “Everything is going to be okay.”

Josh, Dancer and Brian October, 2015

Josh, Dancer and Brian October, 2015

As I look back at what I’ve written, I realize how depressing I must sound. So, I want to end this post on a happier note. I received a wonderful visit from my cousin Josh and his girlfriend Dolores. They were visiting from Nevada and made time to visit me. In fact, they spent most of the day with me and Dancer. It was great to see them. Josh is like my little brother and he has always been there for me. It was great to talk, laugh and spend time with them. He shared with me a song that he likes called, “Brother,” by Needtobreathe. I found an acoustic version and it’s now one of my favorite songs. Thanks Josh.

 

Thank you for letting me share some of my thoughts. And thank you to everyone for their continued love and kind words of support. Lisa reads them to me every day. She often reminds me how Jen and our legal team are fighting hard to bring me home. Lisa is my love and my life. She reminds me every day that we fight for our future and we fight because it brings us one day closer.

Brian

 

October 2015

Hello to everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve last written. It has been a very long summer and I’ve been trying to keep my mind busy. Along with everyone else, I’ve been very anxious and looking forward to filing with the court. It can be difficult sometimes to stay positive and patient. I’m ready to go home.

Meanwhile…I’ve been trying to stay busy with school work and dog training. I’m taking my final college correspondence course. Once I’ve completed it, I will be only two credits shy of getting my degree. My dream is to complete my last class on the Boston University campus and to graduate with a degree in Sociology. I have been working towards this degree for eight years.

Things are progressing with the legal work and we are creeping forward. The private investigator has been hard at work with interviews and uncovering new evidence supporting my innocence which neither myself nor my attorney were aware of at the time my case went to trial.  In addition, Jen has been working tirelessly preparing a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence. The whole team has been amazing. It has been nothing short of jaw dropping what has been uncovered and I think there will be little doubt about what I’ve been saying for nearly 20 years: I am innocent!

An update on Dancer…she’s still with me. She was supposed to go this past August but plans were changed. The program here at the prison got a new trainer. The trainer wanted to have Dancer “re-evaluated.” So, in September Dancer went back to the NEADS facility for another two week evaluation. Of course, she did great. The plan remains the same-that she becomes a therapy dog, which means that she will be placed with a clinical therapist and will work under clinical therapeutic circumstances. For example, in situations where children are being treated for psychological disorders or have been the victim of abuse, Dancer would be used as a therapeutic tool to put the child at ease and to comfort and console. This, I believe, is the best possible job for Dancer. No matter how down or discouraged I feel, Dancer always manages to make me smile. However, because they want to find the perfect client for Dancer, she may be with me for another couple of months. Fine with me.

Happy Fall Amber! (~1993)

Happy Fall Amber! (~1993)

Finally, I want to once again thank everyone for their kind words and support. It has been a tough summer but all of your messages of encouragement have gotten me through. Please know that I love you all and never tire of hearing your messages. Thank you to everyone. We are One Day Closer…

 

Brian

June 2015

Hey Everybody,

A quick hello to update everyone…

First, I want to point out that June has always been a very notable month for birthdays in my family. This month we celebrate some special women who are very important to me because of how each of them touch my life each and every day.

The first birthday we celebrate in my mother’s, Joyce. My mom has always been my biggest cheerleader. Her unconditional love has always given me a safe place to land. No matter how old I get, she still looks at me as her little boy. My mother has never wavered in her belief in me and every day provides me with an example of unquestionable and unrelenting faith. I love you mom.

Amber Peixoto

Baby Amber

 

Next is my beautiful daughter, Amber. My jewel. My heart. My baby. I still remember the day she was born as if it were yesterday. I was hers from the moment she first looked up at me and smiled. I fell in love. I forever will be the very first man to fall victim to her charm. No matter what, I will always love you Amber.

 

Then is Lisa’s mom, Jeanette. She was taken from her family far too soon, but she still is loved and forever will be missed. Though I never had the privilege to meet her, I like to believe that she would approve of me for her daughter. I believe in my heart that when I see her daughter’s sincerity and sensitivity, love and understanding, her giving and hopeful spirit, I am seeing the qualities given to her from her mother. I know she would be proud of you Lisa. I believe she gave you to me long ago, and you have been looking for me ever since.

And then there is my aunt Janice. She is also my Godmother and has always been there for me when I needed a little extra love. As my mother’s sister, she always cared for me as if I were her own. I will always love and appreciate you for that.

Happy birthday to all of you. You are all very special to me and continue to touch my life in innumerable and profound ways. I love you all.

Brian, Mom and Dancer, May 2015

Brian, mom and Dancer, May 2015

An update about Dancer, the wonderful yellow lab I have been training for the NEADS service dog program. Dancer has had her twelve month evaluation at the NEADS facility, and I am happy to announce that she has been chosen to become a Therapy Dog. As such, she will be matched with a permanent handler who works as a physical and occupational therapist. Dancer will be her handler’s therapeutic partner working with children with physical and psychological disabilities. One of the ways that Dancer will work with her handler is by assisting children with social disorders by motivating them to interact socially as part of their therapy. In addition, often, without a child’s knowledge, a therapy dog can encourage a physically disabled child to use their hands, arms and legs, enhancing their flexibility and dexterity by playing tug and catch, as well as walking and brushing the dog. Now that Dancer has been evaluated, I can customize her training, preparing her for life as a Therapy Dog. We are hoping to have her placed with a client by the end of the summer.

Last month I told you a little about Jennifer Fitzgerald, an attorney from Rhode Island who contacted us offering her help. As I stated previously, Jen has joined our team and has been working nonstop on my case. Jen has done something that no other attorney has ever done: she has reviewed every single document, police report, transcript and brief ever filed in this case. Her meticulous review of every document related to the case has led to further actual investigation which has revealed a whole host of new issues which made the entire trial fundamentally unfair right from the start. What Jen has uncovered is nothing short of remarkable. We call her Supergirl!  Please stay tuned…I am told that there will be updates made to our website soon.

Finally, I want to wish my dad a Happy Father’s Day. My father is a man that I have grown to respect as a good, honest man who influences my decision making every day. He inspires me to be the best I can and to remember the importance of family. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

I want to thank everyone for their continued messages of support. They really do keep me positive and hopeful for the future. Remember to be thankful for what you have and never miss an opportunity to tell those who are important to you that you love them. Now, more than ever, I believe we are One Day Closer…