The governor of California knows me as Joseph Eugene Hilke. I have served time in jail twice in my life. It was about sixteen years ago that I was at large after my second prison sentence. There is no such thing as a free lunch and I was punished appropriately for all the wrong decisions I had made. I have never brazened it out, so all the consequences were naturally determined and accepted.
Meth came into my life when I was in my early thirties. This nasty drug turned a young hardworking man into the happiest person in the world. However, the effect was temporary, as it usually occurs. This is a hackneyed story of drug destruction that happens to the neighbors, relatives, or friends, but it is extremely difficult to learn this lesson when it goes about you personally.
My first job after my discharge was at the Kessler Electric Company and it was the support that I needed to get a new start in my life. Apart from that, I believe my wife and I are a match made in heaven and I have no greater joy than to spend time with her six children and our amazing twelve-year-old daughter. I am lucky to be a grandfather of wonderful children who join me when I go to Sunday services at the church. I have felt that I am a part of the community after I started going to the Freewill Baptist church. Now, I go to the Christ church in San Dimas. I have realized the value of volunteering when I got involved into an orphanage school construction. My assistance brought me great pleasure and I enjoyed time spent in communication with George Warf who ran the school.
Bowling turned into my passion which I wanted to share with young people. I felt younger myself when I taught them how important team spirit and hard work are. I know it is possible to use the joy of sports as a means of educating the younger generation and keeping them away from crimes and violence.
I used to be a member of the board, but my dedication helped me to be promoted to the sergeant of arms and even the president of San Gabriel USBC. I was supposed to be certified to be engaged into a youth program; that is where I faced problems related to my past. They denied assisting me with my certification on the ground of my prison experience. I was shocked and embarrassed to know that I had to apply to the district attorney to get the permission. They told me that I was a perfect candidate but my past did not allow them certify me without the judge’s approval.
It was a twist of fate that the same court had sent me to jail and granted me a chance to get the certificate for rehabilitation. Thus, about five years ago, I was given a second chance to start my life after considerable paper work required. This act of pardon made me get on cloud nine. However, having called the legal office in a few days, I was asked to wait and be patient. I was working with young people at USBC until in 2012 I made the second try to be certified. I was confused to get the denial again owing to that my pardon had not been given officially. I was looking for additional jobs, but in most cases, I would get the advice to get my high school diploma. I did adhere to that suggestion though I could not afford losing my position at the board.
Therefore, I revealed that education is not only work but joy as well. I have spent three nights a week for the last two years at school getting knowledge and extending my own horizons. I have great ambitions to enter MT San Antonio College after I graduate in June 2014. I am eager to get involved into the life of the community and be an active citizen. I want to make a difference and be an example to follow for those who have lost their way. This pardon means a lot for me and my family; it demonstrates that hope is the last to die. My firm belief is that bad choices should not be an obstacle to cloudless future. I really hope that my story was not boring for you and that it will make you reconsider your attitude to those who were wrong but admitted their mistakes.