Lamar Johnson spent 28 years behind the bars for a crime he did not commit. Amidst the darkness of despair, a remarkable bond emerged – a connection that would become a beacon of hope, fortitude, and perseverance as he faced the unrelenting passage of time within the confines of his cell.
The story began 25 years ago when a deacon at Ginny’s church handed Ginny Schrappen a letter from Lamar Johnson, hoping that someone would write back to him. The 80-year-old woman then started to exchange letters with Lamar, which she nonchalantly explains that it did not cost her anything but a stamp.
Over the next two decades, a deep friendship formed between the two and Ginny was certain that Lamar was innocent from their conversations. Her intuition would take 28 years to come true.
For 28 long years, Lamar endured the agony of imprisonment, but Ginny’s unwavering faith in his innocence kept him going. And finally, after all those years, justice prevailed, and Lamar was finally exonerated this year after the Mid-West Innocence Project got involved and the real killer confessed of the crime.
The moment of their reunion was a long time coming. Ginny hugged Lamar tightly, gave him a kiss, and showed him around her home. For Lamar, the greatest gift was not his newfound freedom but the trust and confidence Ginny had in him.
“When you have people that believe in you and they won’t give up on you. It makes it harder for you to give up on yourself, ” Lamar explains.
Ginny and Lamar’s extraordinary connection demonstrates the importance of never undervaluing the impact of a thoughtful word, a sympathetic action, or a basic act of goodwill. Throughout life, we require individuals to stand by and encourage us during trying times, and it’s heartening to know that Lamar discovered such a person in Ginny.