“I love photography so if I can give back doing something I actually love - great - then I’m not only volunteering, but doing something that truly matters to me and someone else. When you can give a person their photos and they say ‘Wow! I’m beautiful’ - that right there is a blessing.”
"Was that an alcohol problem or just typical stupid teenage behavior?" I asked trying to clarify.
"I think it's a little bit of both," came her answer, "I eventually got to a point where I was drinking because of my problems and not because I wanted to have fun. I was pretending I was a normal person and not an alcoholic…”
Warning: graphic photo included
He's from Davenport, Iowa - you know, that part of the state that, when viewed on a map, looks like a nose - but, he's called Rochester, MN home for the past 17 years. And, he's an actual writer (whereas I'm a hack of a writer) and in our interview he used some really great words like "ostensibly," so I determined to put on my big-girl writer pants and not screw this up.
I've worked a lot of non typical, "tough," and physically demanding jobs and usually to obsession. And, despite the tough work I've had in my life being a mom requires way more hours and hard work than any other job I've had. Plus, I'm the only person I know who prefers Keystone Light to most other beers. And, I'm not afraid to admit it!
Being a correctional officer isn't being some sort of big brute tossing people around. It's having sympathy and empathy. It's former detainees coming up to you in the street and saying, "Thank you for the respect you gave me...I've turned my life around." It's people that go back into the community to be productive citizens - that's what being a correctional officer is all about.
Brian didn't live past 25, and I'm going to be 35. I have already lived the sort of life he never got to live. He never got married, he never had kids and he never left Illinois. I'm married, have a daughter and I've lived lots of different places. Because he didn't get to do these things I'm going to do them and I have done them.
In 2001, Jessica arrived in Rochester via Winona after graduating from Winona State University. Growing up in Chicago, she loved the city life, and never imagined she would grow roots in a town such as Rochester, but she and her husband have learned a valuable lesson in what it means to create the kind of life you want to live wherever you are.