This is a compelling example of extremely bad and very good fathers.
Rusty “cowered in the corner of a dirty, roach-infested death row cell in a South Carolina prison. His body curled in a fetal position, he seemed oblivious to the filth and stench around him.” He had been sentenced to death for murder.
Bob McAlister, deputy chief of staff to South Carolina’s governor, took a personal interest in Rusty. During visit after visit Rusty just stared blankly as Bob told him about the love of Jesus. He did not respond in any way. But one day he began to weep as Bob spoke to him. “On that day, Rusty Welborn, a pitiful man with murder and darkness behind him and his own death closing in ahead of him, gave his heart to Jesus.”
A few days later his cell was cleaned up and so was he. Rusty had renewed energy and a positive outlook. He was a new man. During the next five years of waiting on death row the two became fast friends. Rusty became like a son to Bob, giving this story another perspective on a unique Father’s Day.
Rusty had a terrible childhood and horrible teenage years. Throughout junior high he wore the same two ragged shirts and two pants. He was kicked out of home many times and also ran away often. He had never known love from anyone and was overwhelmed by the idea that God loved him. He was able to meet with the brother of the woman he had murdered and receive the forgiveness he so desperately wanted. Just before his execution he stated, “You know, the only thing I ever wanted was a home, Pap. Now I’m going to get one.”
Quotes are from Ed Young in “From Bad Beginnings to Happy Endings”