Friends sent me Barry Paschal's Nov. 30, 2008, column on Merle Temple.
I was Temple's first roommate in Edgefield Federal Correctional Institution. We all wondered about him after seeing all the stories in the media, but he was nothing like the Schrenko woman described; humble, gentle, he would give you the shirt off his back.
When his wife died, he was inconsolable. Even though the courts ordered that he be allowed to go to her funeral with escort, but the prison stalled until the funeral had passed. Merle could have been bitter, but he asked us to pray for the officials to soften their hearts toward other inmates who lost their loved ones.
He counseled many such inmates who could not see their wives or children one last time. With the help of Christians from your area, he began a Christian movie night at the prison and packed the house with some very tough guys.
Merle wrote letters home for an elderly man who could no longer write and prayed with him every night before lights out. He gave Bibles away to men without.
My friendship with Merle was one of the few bright spots in that awful place, so if Evans doesn't want him back one day, we will take him way up here in the mountains. We believe in redemption.
Dean Cole,Hendersonville, N.C.
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