Ladies bring message of hope with songs

HERSEY — When the dreams of some day having a place called the Hersey House of Hope combined with faith that it could happen, others got on board. Not only did a double-wide unit become available and affordable, but also more and more people started to step forward and add more hope, more financial help, and more thoughts for how to make it happen.

The two ladies who went to the Osceola County Jail to reach out to women incarcerated there did so because they cared, and after awhile that caring became contagious. Some of those in jail liked being out of a cell for a bit, yet something was changing them not from the outside in, but because people from the outside came in because they wanted to, not because they had to.

And because they did go back, Carol McKernan and Nina Browne discovered their feelings that something needed to be done in order to help these women transition from the inside back to the outside.

Too many times once released, the path led many back into jail. Carol and Nina looked at Jericho House at Ludington, talked to the people who brought it into being and those who stayed there.

Two of those women were at a benefit held recently at the Reed City Church of the Nazarene, and they shared their testimony. Many on stage with them, and a good many out in the crowd who came to hear some wonderful music and think about helping in some way, broke down in tears as the two talked.

One had been in jail in Osceola County for seven months. The other for a year.

One carried with her a well-worn Bible. A gift given to every woman who will accept one during their stay in the Osceola County Jail. It’s called a Life Recovery Bible and it addresses the issues that keep a person imprisoned in their own mind when they have nowhere to go and maybe no one to care.

Nina and Carol have every hope of being there for them, and having a place for others to come to once they are released as well.

The double-wide already had been purchased at a price they never would have hoped for, Nina said, and it sits out on property along U.S.-10 east of Reed City. Soon it will be moved to a spot nearby, just to the west a bit, where all the things that need to be done can be.

Then the Hersey House of Hope will be ready for occupancy.

In the meantime, Carol will continue her work and spend time in jail as a visitor and a mentor and a friend to those who are ready for help, and be there for those who aren’t ready when they are. Nina will do likewise.

Before the benefit ended, one man came forward and told the women he would see that the septic got put in. Others donated money. Many prayed and hugged, and watched as a little boy danced with his mommy, a lady he loves so dearly who found hope in a jail, and peace on the outside because she learned that God was a God of second chances, and so were the people who reached out and took her in.

It has been a long five years for Nina and Carol, working hard to help it happen, jumping through the hoops to create a non-profit organization, and get this close now to putting together a home that will, they say, help put together the lives of women.

How can you help? Call them.

Anyone wishing further information or wishing to help in some way, may contact Nina or Carol at (231) 468-9362 or (231) 734-6240.