Anthony Colon’s brother, Wilfredo, was his hero. He was gunned down, and one of the shooters, Michael Rowe, has a found a new life through the forgiveness of Anthony.
Rowe was released from prison this week after 20 years, a man who has not seen the world since he was barely grown up.
He showed up at one of his children’s elementary schools with cupcakes and gave her the surprise of her life. He saw the home where he will be living with his wife and three children for the first time. And he went to see Anthony Colon, who he will join at Exodus reaching out to young men at risk.
“God has a purpose for me. God has a purpose for us,” said Rowe, sitting alongside Colon at the offices of Exodus. “Yes, us,” adds Colon smiling.
Meanwhile, Rowe is adjusting to life on the outside.
He is mystified by cell phones and the gentrification of the neighborhood where he fell into drugs and killed a man.
Exodus is helping him cope with routine life skills that seem overwhelming to him like having the power to make daily decisions over what to eat, when to talk, going outside.
Colon is helping him with that too, so he can see a life beyond prison and they can both put an end to 20 years of pain.
Part of the process involved Rowe’s participation in the parole hearings:
The day of his graduation, Colon surprised Rowe by coming to put on his robe. He also came to his parole hearing, where Rowe said this to the board deciding his fate:
“Anthony is my hero. I have two sons, and if my sons grow up to be half the man that Anthony Colon is, I will be an incredibly proud father. And I don’t know if I can sum it up or explain any better than that how I feel about Anthony Colon. He has changed my life.”