The Wedding of Marilyn Callahan and Fred Welsh
Saturday, August 26th, Marilyn Callahan and Fred Welsh will marry. Family, friends and colleagues will gather to witness a ceremony that acknowledge and celebrate a loving partnership that exceeds 33 years.
Both had been married before and raised children. Both lost their first spouse to early death. As individuals, they have had the experience of starting and running their own successful business.
While "retired", Marilyn and Fred have continued to bring joy, solace, understanding and personal growth opportunity to others. Each week, Fred drives Marilyn to the Oregon State Correctional Institution for a day of group treatment with men whose past lives are littered with violence and sadness. Sometimes, Fred accompanies her, and in the group his past as a Marine Drill Instructor is a bond with those who had military experience. Men want to open up and share the pain of their past. Doing so is part of what helps them move forward in their development as a human being, and to be accountable for the damage they have done to others. But some are reluctant to embrace trust in a prison environment, so Fred's common heritage in military duty can be just the ingredient needed for building that trust.
At least twice a year, Marilyn shepherds a busload of senior citizens to the prison for a special meeting, a celebration that allows the men to serve dinner and show their appreciation for community support. The inmates feel grateful for having been seen for their intrinsic value. Visitors come away pleasingly surprised, having experienced an authentic sharing that helps erase decades of bias against those incarcerated for violent crimes.
In addition to having immense impact on their children and grandchildren's lives, both Marilyn and Fred continue to bring value into the service to others. Their union in marriage further inspires us to never allow our thinking to get stale, nor our hearts harden to the prospect of growth and discovery.