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Richard Hefner: Gastonia man remembers good times, bad times

Richard Hefner, 61, of Gastonia said he was sent to Stonewall Jackson after being arrested three times in 30 days. He credits the school with helping him “straighten up.” He recently retired as a medical transcriptionist and is an avid runner.

“I lived in Cottage 17 – that’s where the jail was. I used to take food to the boys there. The only clothes they had on were a pair of tighty whities. You could see that they were striped from their neck to the ankles on their back sides, all black and blue from where they were hit.

“It was barbaric. If you did it now, there would be a huge scandal and headlines. Back then, it was just the way they dealt with people like us. ...

“I remember some good things, too. One time, our substitute cottage parent rented a bus and took us all for a ride to Charlotte. I think we went to Freedom Park. On the way back, we stopped, and they bought us all a burger and fries and a drink. OMG! ... We were in heaven for a few hours at least.”

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