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That's Gonna Leave a Mark

His arm hung limply from the attack. He didn't think he would ever use it again. But that didn't prevent him from forgiving the attacker like Christ forgave him.


On November 12, 1999 while on an outing, two young offenders made a dash for freedom. In a flash, Steve Krulicki, one of the guards, pursued the boys.

Steve Krulicki
Steve Krulicki the assaulted guard refuses to hold a grudge against the young offender who struck him with a brick.

The chase led him over fences and through back yards. While Steve was mounting a fence one of the teens lobbed a brick, hitting him in the head. "I tried to get up and couldn't. I blacked out for a minute. I finally got enough strength to get up and I started walking … " When the other guard and the rest of the kids caught up, Steve was in bad shape. His right arm was paralyzed and he babbled incoherently.

Steve was rushed to St. Mary's Hospital and later was transferred to McMaster Hospital in Hamilton, which is better equipped to deal with head trauma. Surgery seemed imminent.

"I couldn't feel my arm for so many hours. I couldn't even move it … It was just hanging there." A lover of sports, Steve thought he would never play hockey or baseball again. Ray of Hope in Kitchener, ON rehabilitates young offenders in their three youth jails. Staff and volunteers show them Christ's love and pray that they will change their ways. Now one of their own was a victim.

Steve spent six nights in the hospital and three months on seizure medication, but surgery was not required. He had to move back in with his parents for a few months and was on worker's compensation during that time.

Jen's father wanted the boys to consider how much time and money the incident cost everyone …

After their escape, the two young offenders went to a party, got drunk and stole a car. They were caught soon after crashing it. The Crown sentenced them to more time in jail. Justice was served, but that's not the end of the story. In December 1999, barely a month after the incident, Steve agreed to meet with the two boys in a family group conference, where the victim and offender come together for the purpose of acknowledging the crime, agreeing on reparations and bringing peaceful closure to the incident. Steve's fiancée Jen, his brother and parents, as well as his future in-laws attended. The boy who threw the brick was supported by family; the other offender was assigned a Ray of Hope staff person to be by his side. Duane Boles, a trained facilitator, mediated the conference.

The ground rules were simple: Everyone must be given a chance to speak freely without interruption. If things get heated, participants can take a break or leave if they can't handle the situation. The facilitator makes sure that honest expressions don't become abusive; the focus is on hearing everyone out and repairing the harm, not on affixing blame.

Jen's father wanted the boys to consider how much time and money the incident cost everyone including the Ray of Hope staff, the ambulance attendants, Steve and his family.

The mother of the boy who hit Steve started crying. Through an interpreter she said she loved her son but that what he had done had brought shame on the family. She thought there would be a lawsuit. Steve graciously told her, "After tonight it doesn't have to be brought up again."

Incredibly, Steve was ready and eager to forgive the boys when they asked. "The Lord forgave me so of course I'm going to forgive them. I hold no grudges.''

Steve Krulicki

The offender who assaulted Steve was sentenced to 15 more months in custody at Hope Manor, Ray of Hope's high-security youth jail. He earned the highest level of privilege for good behaviour and was taken into the community many times without incident. Best of all, he took an interest in Christ, voluntarily attending chapel and participating in one-on-one discipleship.

Steve admits that he will think twice about chasing another kid who tries to escape but has no qualms about returning to work with the kids he loves. Many would have held a grudge or at least retreated in fear to a safer career. The experience left its mark, but Steve is leaving his own mark. He has a new compassion for victims of crime and is using his experience to help offenders in his care to understand how crime affects people. "I use this whenever I can to express to them that it (crime) does affect people in different ways but that you can be forgiven … no matter what you have done."

Sandra Reimer works for Ray of Hope, Kitchener, ON, www.rayofhope.net. She can be reached at, sreimer@canada.com.

Originally published in Testimony, November 2003.
www.paoc.org/

 

 
 
 
 

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