By Rosemary Pollock
Mormon Inmate Gets Companions Serving Thru Sewing
WARTBURG, TENNESSEE -- For the past six months the inmates of the
Brushy Mountain Correctional Complex have been spending their
Saturdays in the library at the Morgan County Regional Site. "I wish
I could do this more than one Saturday a month," said Antonio
"It is nice to get a group of guys to come in here and have their
minds in the right place." Aubrey "Shawn" Bettis leans forward to
inspect his work as he ties the thread into a knot and cuts the extra
piece of thread with a fingernail clipper. "This blanket had to come
back because I didn't properly tuck in the batting so that when the
final seams are sewn, nothing sticks out," Bettis said. "Sometimes it
Thanks to Owan Hughes, an inmate at Brushy Mountain and member of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, eight to 10 quilts are
completed by the inmates each month and delivered to children in
cancer wards at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, the Florence
Crittenton Home, Project Linus and Omni Visions Inc. a child welfare
Hughes contacted his leaders at the Knoxville Cumberland Stake and
expressed a desire to sponsor a service club at Brushy Mountain.
After wading through the red tape with the help of Chaplain Dean
Yancey and Warden David Mills, Hughes was able to move ahead.
"Great church people were willing to dedicate their time to promote
it," Hughes said. "Like a cake, there are many ingredients and to
make this group come about, I was only one ingredient. I came up with
the idea, and there were many who contributed to make this happen."
Members from the Knoxville Cumberland Stake have volunteered their
time and provided precut fabric, batting and supplies for the quilts.
The women from Cumberland finish the blanket edges and apply a tag to
each quilt that reads: "Made by inmates at Brushy Mt. Corrections,
Morgan Site" along with their address. Weekly worship services have
been held at the minimum and medium-security facility under the
direction of Knoxville Cumberland Stake President Richard Riggs.
"Through my being in Scouts growing up, I had an appreciation for
service, and service brings rewards, i.e. satisfaction and the warm,
fuzzy feeling you have inside when you help others," Hughes said.
"That is something you don't have too often here."
Inmate Cory Simmons said, "I think there are a lot of guys who feel
bad for what they've done and look for a way to repay the community
and others." "They are making the best of a challenging situation. I
won't say 'bad situation' because, though being sent here was one of
the most devastating things in my life, I try to focus my time here
not only on repaying but rebuilding. I want to come out as a changed
Reap what you Sew
Knoxville TN News-Sentinel 17Mar01 P2
By Jeannine F. Hunter: News-Sentinel religion writer
Morgan County inmates make quilts for sick children