Dear editor:

Happy New Year and God bless each of you. I am writing this letter from Montgomery Federal Prison Camp, in Montgomery, Ala.

Many of you saw a few months ago on the front page of the Moultrie Observer that I was sentenced to serve six months in a federal prison camp. I will be coming home January 17, 2012. A few years ago, I made a bad choice in life and now paying my debt to society, the federal government, and the USPS.

Why good people make bad choices is something that will be debated until the end of time. The night before the article about my crime was to be in Saturday's paper, I was concerned how my family and community would react. I was very disappointed because, of course I had let my family suffer because of my failure to them and failure to the community that I have lived in all my 60 years.

I was born here, grew up here, met my high school sweetheart, Charlotte Jenkins, the love of my life, been married to her for over 41 years. We have three wonderful children and in laws, Scarlett and Will Powell, Ashley and Penelope Croft, and Priscilla and Brandon DeMott. Five amazing grandchildren, Trenten, Chloe, Brennon, McKennon, and Tyler. Words could never express my feelings and love for my loving family, especially my precious gracious and loving wife, without their love, prayers, and forgiveness I would never have been able to go through this terrible trial and ordeal in my life. Their love healed our broken hearts.

Since I came here one of my beliefs have been Romans Chap. 8, Verse 28, also in one of my wife's 100-plus letters to me, she said to trust God and fly to victory, now my slogan. I want to thank you and my community for your love and prayers. I already knew Colquitt County and Moultrie was a special place to live but the way you have shown your love to me proves it without any doubt.

To all my special friends who have prayed, sent cards and letters to support me, you have touched my heart and soul. A special “thank you” to my church, Lakeside Assembly, Pastor Tom Lawrence and my two adopted churches, Lifespring, Pastor Julian Griner, and First Baptist, Pastor Wayne Woods. Your love will never be taken lightly or forgotten. To Mr. Mark Nesmith, owner of Nesmith Nursery, a man of great character, thank you for keeping my job for me at Nesmith's. To my big brother, Jerry and his wife Gwen, thank you, I love you.

During these past few months, I have read and studied God's word and reflected on my past and looked to my future. I will leave this prison camp a better man and I want to go anywhere to give my testimony to help anyone not to make the bad choice that could change their life. Thank you again Colquitt County for embracing me and my family with love and prayers. Remember never condemn people because we are one bad choice away from falling in society's views. In my favorite movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," the last climatic scene, there's a line written in a book given to George Bailey by Clarence the angel, it says, "A man that has friends is not a failure."

 Thank you for making me a success! Love everyone as you have me and during this coming season have a wonderful new year. Thank you again, Charlotte, Scarlett, Ashley, and Priscilla. I love ya'll with all my heart.

Chick Croft

Montgomery, Ala.

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