Twenty-three years ago, my son, Danny, had to go to prison to start a 45 year term of imprisonment!
It was one of the most difficult experiences of my whole life as well as the life of our family. He was in the investment business. He had a crooked lawyer to help him with his work, and because of wrong legal advice, Dan found himself with his business “going south” and facing charges of mishandling of government regulations. The officials in government in the county thought he was doing a “Ponzi Scheme” and was taking advantage elderly people in the area. The Lakeland Ledger picked up on it, and there were close to 150 articles that were written about the problem. The Ledger felt, strongly, though it was proven there was only one-half of one percent of our Carpenters Home Church people involved in the so-called “scheme”, that Dan had taken advantage of the people in his Dad’s Church!
The Evangelist, Rodney Howard Browne, who was in revival meeting services with us at the time, predicted “Divine Intervention” for the problem. But the Jury, who had to be brought into town from a neighboring community, decided that Dan was guilty of the charges, and the Judge, who was in the extreme “Left” of politics, said that Dan was very guilty and needed to be punished, severely, because he would not “say” he was guilty, but continued to affirm that he was “innocent” of the charges, even to this day, 23 years later. (The average sentence for “fraud” is three years!)
The bottom line is that he was put in prison, because I pastored the largest church in town, and it made good political “fodder”, thus making it a “newsworthy” event!
Following the usual happenings with the prison population, Dan’s marriage lasted just two years, and his children have suffered through having to have an absentee father. To complicate matters his son, Steele, developed Leukemia for about five years after Dan’s incarceration, but finally was pronounced cured, and his Daughter had to be cured of cancer of her throat during the same general period. Dan was placed in a prison with no air-conditioning, about 50 miles south of Lakeland, to experience the hot Florida weather, but a beautiful positive report of his experience, is that he has read through his Bible each year he has been there, the New Testament, twice a year, and the Psalms and Proverbs, twice a month! Also, the last seven or so years he has played the key-board for the Catholic Chapel Service, and, because he has kept his integrity on the Prison Compound, he has the respect, as a Christian, from the other prisoners, as well as, a good report from the commanding officers of his Prison!
Dan Strader’s incarceration has been a real challenge for his family and loved ones, but his preacher father has certainly been drawn closer to God though this diabolical experience. It’s all a part of my Testimony!!!
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