Jason Monroe's 1946 Cherry Red Chevy pickup was voted "Best of Show" during the June 13 Classic Car event at Two Rivers Correctional Institution. Monroe and other members of the Hermiston Classics Car Club helped TRCI inmates raise much needed funds for Hermiston's Agape House, which provides emergency provisions to local residents in need.
Ten classic cars and their proud owners were hosted during the first-time event held in the prison's minimum security recreation yard. The correctional institution arranged for inmates to purchase $2 photos of themselves with the cars of their choice, as a souvenir and method to raise funds for Agape House. In the end, TRCI inmates collected $75.90 to donate to the cause.
Car Club participants received "car-toon" motif sports bags created by Oregon Corrections Enterprises and filled with auto-related goodies donated by Baxter Auto Parts, Tri-Cities.
Agape House Executive Director Dave Hughes and his wife, Jodene Hughes, were on site to take in the show and thank the participants. "These types of events help us build awareness in the community and that's what we're after," Dave Hughes said. "We really appreciate the effort everyone is making on behalf of Agape House clients."
Inmate Marvin Smith said he thought the car show was "cool and enjoyable." His father had a auto shop and Inmate Smith has "been around cars his whole life."
Inmate Kevin Nachand was admiring the mint condition vehicles before him and mentioned that he is getting close to release.
"When we have people come in to share their time and show us things they're interested in, it helps us know more about things that we may be interested in. It makes us more excited about getting out and enjoying positive things waiting for us out there," he said. "It's also nice to help Agape House. I worked for them on an Inmate work crew and their people were very respectful to us. It is good for the community that Agape House is here. I was glad to be part of that."
TRCI Superintendent Don Mills began last fall to clear the way to bring more opportunities for inmate activities, like the classic car show, to the TRCI prison population.
"One of the primary reasons for making activities available to inmates is due to the incentives they provide in helping inmates "want" to change," Mills said. "Assisting inmates to change, to encourage them to become productive, functioning citizens is a vital part of the Mission of the Oregon Department of Corrections."