Virginia Havens has trekked 100 miles of Spain’s Pilgrim Trail, banded birds in the Montana mountains and now, one day each week, the 5-foot, 88-year-old positions herself across a table from four felons and trains them on how to appear professional during an interview.
“I try to get them to present the very best of themselves, because they’ve all paid their penalties,” Virginia says. “They really have a right to start fresh.”
From his red wingback chair in their living room, her husband, George Havens, stresses his diminutive wife’s bravery. “You do realize that some of these people are murderers and rapists?” he says.
“But there’s no difference between us,” Virginia insists. “I’ve had three great compliments in my life, and I will tell you one of them.” She’d worked with a man convicted of three felonies, she recounts. When he returned to his regular class in the prison, the teacher asked, “How did you get along with Mrs. Havens?”
“He said, ‘I learned a lot, but she’s one tough cookie,’ ” Virginia recalls. “And I thought that was wonderful because I think of myself as being rather quiet and restrained, and I can’t imagine being a tough cookie.”
To read the rest of this Cleveland Magazine story, click here.
For more information about Judson Manor, call (216) 791-2004 or click here.