by Karen Zatkulak
Posted on March 12, 2014 at 6:08 PM
Updated today at 8:26 AM
KUNA — A group of inmates from the Community Work Center gave a special donation to injured football player Boone Bartlome, Wednesday morning.
There are 100 inmates at the Work Center, all nearing the end of their time behind bars.
One of them is Thomas Massey. He’s been locked up since 2005 on meth charges but says he’s worked hard to change his life around.
“This is the last step before you get back to society. This place here helped me to change my life, and to put me back on the right path so Idaho did help me to do something in my life, to change,” said Massey. He’s been at the work center for the last three years, working as the head cook.
Massey said he watched the news coverage of Boone’s accident and followed along during his recovery.
Vince Samares was also following Boone’s story.
Both decided they wanted to help Boone and decided to raise money for a donation.
Samares says the inmates are one step away from being released and want to show that they can be a helpful piece of society.
“People get to work in the community, save money, and when they get out they aren’t a burden on the resources,” said Samares.
Massey and Samares had been waiting for weeks to meet Boone and hand over their donation.
Amid jokes and laughter, both inmates helped Boone inside the visitor area. Massey, Samares and Boone talked about football and trucks.
They also shared pieces of their personal journeys, and something they have in common with Boone — getting through difficult times.
Massey said he understood Boone’s situation, as he’s dealt with challenges in his own life.
“I know you have a change to do and it’s hard but I commend you because you didn’t stop, and I’m not going to stop either,” said Massey.
Boone said he may remember this donation most, because of the people behind it.
“When we were told we were getting a donation from here, you don’t hear anything about that and so they don’t know you guys are doing good for the community,” said Boone.
The check was for $760, money donated from those still paying for their crimes.
Some, like Massey, make just $100 a month. Others on work release have full time jobs but are charged 35 percent of their wages for room and board.
Boone said he really enjoyed meeting Massey and Samares.
“When you hear something like this, you find that really cool, I thought out of all the donations, this was one of the coolest ones,” said Boone.
The donation seemed to have touched Massey just as much.
“It helps us understand that we are humans too. Even though we did make mistakes in our life and meeting Boone was really one of the highlights of my life,” said Massey.