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From Behind Bars: Meet the Good Neighbor Crew
Written by Nicole Porter
Last updated on May 22, 2013 @ 12:46PM
Created on May 21, 2013 @ 6:00PM
 
Incarcerate means to shut in or confine. But some prisoners at Pruntytown Correctional Center can, in some ways, break their confinement daily to help the community. 
 
"We're called the Good Neighbor Program and there's five of us inmates who come out from Pruntytown, five days a week for eight hours a day," said Pruntytown Correctional Center inmate Matthew Veith, who is part of the crew.
 
"Doing community service at different places throughout different counties. Just trying to come out and help fix up things," explained fellow crew member Stephen Wyrick.
 
The Good Neighbor Program differs from most work crews because they get to travel to different places to do different jobs. They spend one week at each location at no cost to the organization receiving their help. 
 
"The Good Neighbor Crew is just that. It's our effort to be a good neighbor to the community and so we pay for that ourselves," said Pruntytown Correctional Center Warden Debbie Minnix.
 
One of the year's biggest services so far has been the Mannington Pool. 
 
"They've done electrical, plumbing, they helped us seal the pool and without them, we would not be able to open on time," said Christina Dunigan, Park Board President.
 
"These guys are amazing. They have done everything, above and beyond what we have asked them to do," expressed Mannington Pool Manager Connie Stevens.
 
That reaction isn't unusual about their work. 
 
Doug Baker is a correctional officer who supervises the crew everywhere they go. 
 
"They're real respectful to me and that means a lot to me. They'll do anything that I ask them to do," said Baker.
 
These five men hope that being good neighbors while serving out their sentence will make them even better ones once they're given back their freedom.
 
"It's really hit a lot on the volunteer aspect of being out here in the community and helping these people and being willing to do a lot of things that maybe I wouldn't have been willing to do before I was incarcerated," said Veith.
 
"Real good feeling and privilege to be able to give back to the community and to be apart of something that you know is worthwhile and letting the community see this side to you that you're out here trying to change and do what's right," explained Wyrick.
 
The Good Neighbor Crew works from April through October. They are booked every single week.

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