Many of them had witnessed how incarceration and collateral consequences had taken a toll on friends and family—the harsh reality of the "second prison" that bars people with a criminal record from living a full life. Some attendees even bore the scars themselves.
"I'm one of them," said Thomas Hernandez. "I'm a reformed, recovering addict [and] felon."
Speaking up for himself and the 65 million other Americans like him is Hernandez's passion. He's the co-founder of The Hornbuckle Foundation, an organization that helps people who can't afford treatment for addiction.
"When I got a chance to speak out and have our organization be a part of [Second Chance Month], I jumped all over it," he said.
DIVERSE AND PASSIONATE
The Second Chances 5K raises awareness of the limitations former prisoners and their families face every day. Several people were inspired to register on the spot.
Others relaxing in the park mingled with volunteers and spectators. "I believe the event helped raise awareness," said Michael Bell, senior graphic designer at Prison Fellowship®, who helped capture moments of the event on camera. "I had a couple people come to me and ask questions of the event and the organization. The excitement and gratitude was certainly genuine from those I met."
"It was just a day where people came together for a great cause and the diversity of people from different backgrounds was apparent … which is especially great considering the current political and racial climate," Michael continued. "It was just good people coming together to celebrate and bring awareness to a great cause in an atmosphere of love and kindness for all."
1. Billings, Marty
2. Herrera, Juan
3. Kusick, Mitch
4. Nielsen, Dan
5. Mack, Kyle
1. Abramczyk-Thill, Amanda
2. Baker, Heather
3. Kelly, Megan
4. Merchant, Nicole
5. Konig, Samantha
Prison Fellowship communications specialist Stone Underwood was also encouraged by the event. "We had a wonderful day," he said. "The weather was perfect, the volunteers were eager, and the Lord was present."
"We were able to deliver our message [for second chances] the way we sought to," Stone continued. "We also planted a seed for Prison Fellowship. Our presence in Colorado will only grow from here."