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Ex-convict David Potchen was out of prison, but his prospects seemed bleak.
He had tried his best to make it on the outside, only to lose his job, his livelihood and his future.
While in prison for years, Potchen had worked, made money, even purchased his own clothes and food with his prison wages. Now he was staring homelessness in the face.
The 53-year-old from Gary, Indiana, walked out of his rented motel room and hit the road. By the time he'd reached the town of Merrillville, 12 miles away, his feet were sore, he had no money and he found himself sleeping in the woods. He made a desperate decision.
Potchen walked into a nearby bank, and on the back of his last resumé, he scribbled: "Give me all your cash in fives and tens." He handed it to the teller, and then with $1,600 stuffed into his back pocket, he walked outside and waited for the police.
He didn't want the money. He wanted to go back to jail. At least there, he could work and look after himself. He never wanted handouts.
But Lake County Superior Court Judge Clarence Murray wasn't having it.
Instead of sending Potchen back behind bars, Murray asked whether there was anyone who might give him a break — maybe offer him a job. A local reporter wrote the story, and soon the owner of a nearby trucking company decided it was time to show a little faith.
David Potchen is now a full-time welder, and a good one, too.
Those days in prison are the last thing on his mind. Potchen has a salary, an apartment and a retirement account. His favorite pastime is something he couldn't do behind bars. As a free man and contributor to society, David Potchen likes to go fishing.