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Inmates turn trash into treasure

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

MCLOUD, Okla --Give John Seright a box of junk and he just might rebuild your transmission. Seright said, “I’ve been called Macgyver a time or two.”

John is the construction maintenance administrator at Mabel Bassett. Simply put -- he fixes stuff. According to Seright, “We call it second chance maintenance. If the girls want to learn something, we take them and show them.”

Several years ago, John began sharing his special set of skills with the inmates here. Jona Montgomery has become a talented and artistic welder. She said, “I welded one. It was made out of a saw blade and a garden hoe. And we gave that to Mister Hammer. Hammer time. We told him he has to put it on is self with his Emmys.”

They’ll dumpster dive and scour garage sales. With a little imagination, they can build almost anything. Seright said, “I had a little two gallon bucket. I said hey we’d like to make a sink out of this.”

John and his helpers created all the décor at the Mabel Bassett Cosmetology School. RISE founder, Christie Luther said, “It’s just so close to my heart. Many of the girls at here have made different items. It’s just a wonderful thing. I want to showcase a light on what they do as well.”

Most everything they make is given as gifts or sold to raise money for charitable causes.

They have raised thousands for charities and given generously to the Mcloud School District. According to Montgomery, “I feel like I can give back to the community by donating, paying for kid’s school lunches.”

John Seright is helping these women recognize, even things that have been broken can become beautiful and useful again.

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